CHAMPAIGN – Bruce Weber is back from vacation, and he stepped out of bed and right into bedlam.
There are more than 400 campers on campus, taking up more than 20 courts. There''s a meeting with Ron Guenther at lunchtime. There are summer classes starting.
CHAMPAIGN – Deron Williams and Cassie Hunt today were named recipients of the Dike Eddleman Award as the top male and female athletes at Illinois.
Williams, who helped Bruce Weber''s Illini reach the NCAA tournament''s championship game, is the first men''s basketball player to win the Eddleman since Kendall Gill in 1990. Like Gill, Williams left school early to pursue an NBA career.
CHAMPAIGN – His team won a Big Ten championship, set a single-season school record for league wins and produced five major league draft picks.
Itch Jones, for 39 years a Hall of Fame college baseball coach, couldn''t think of a better way to go out.
I am the premier shot putter in Illini history. I hold school records for the event, both outdoors and indoors. I also was among the best in the nation in the early 1980s. In 1982, I was the NCAA indoor champion with a heave of 67 feet, 7 inches. I also was the outdoor NCAA runner-up in 1981 and ''82, and placed third in the national indoor meet in 1981. My resume includes four Big Ten shot put crowns and one conference discus title. I still hold the Big Ten indoor meet record for the shot put: 69-2, set in 1982.
CHAMPAIGN – The question had been asked for a few years; this morning, Itch Jones had the answer.
After 15 years as head baseball coach and 39 years overall, Jones announced his retirement from coaching this morning, stepping down after leading Illinois to the Big Ten regular season title and earning his second conference coach of the year award.
I was the seventh coach in Illini football history, guiding the team during the 1901 and ''02 seasons. With an 18-4-1 record, I compiled the best winning percentage (.818) of any UI coach who served more than one year. My second squad recorded eight shutouts. Despite going 4-2 in the Big Ten each season, neither team finished better than fourth. I coached two players of particular note: running back/guard Jake Stahl, who went on to manage the Boston Red Sox, and tackle Justa Lindgren, who coached UI football in 1906.
The Illinois basketball centennial DVD begins toward the end of the 2003-04 basketball season, taking its viewers early on into the heat of a Big Ten title-clinching game at Purdue.
It''s a beginning as pulse-pounding as it is problematic.
News-Gazette staff writer Brett Dawson spent the week at the NBA predraft camp in Chicago. We asked him to break down the best and worst of what he saw there:
The folks in Division I-AA apparently want to change their name. Or lose it all together. Apparently, the schools are being hurt in other sports by the I-AA level.
What was more surprising: That Craig Tiley left for another job or how fans of Illinois tennis reacted when he did?
No temper tantrums. No "I hope Australia never wins another Davis Cup match" rants. No charges of betrayal. No march on Atkins Tennis Center.