Good thing Lon Kruger didn't have a game to get ready for this weekend. His schedule was stuffed.
When he returned to the office Monday morning, a day after Illinois' second-round NCAA loss to Florida, he had a stack of telephone messages as thick as a Sears catalog waiting on his desk. Most were from head coaches and assistant coaches from colleges and high schools wanting to talk about the opening on his staff, created by Robert McCullum's departure.
In case you missed it, there was a brief moment when the Illini gained a level of recognition seldom accomplished through the years.
They made the Top 25 in the major sports of the fall, winter and spring: football, basketball and baseball.
CHAMPAIGN – From the standpoint of dramatics, Joe Parenti's game-winning grand slam was an impossibly tough act to follow.
That didn't stop Brady Ballard from giving it his best shot.
Sophomore Brooke Ferney and freshman Natascha Loebnitz upset the country's 11th-ranked doubles team to spark Illinois in its 5-2 win against Purdue in a Big Ten women's tennis match Saturday at Atkins Tennis Center.
CHAMPAIGN – One thing the Illinois women's basketball team won't be concerned about next season: Senior Day.
There aren't any seniors.
With Bloomington-Normal dropping out of the bidding to host the state football title games, the IHSA will pick between Champaign-Urbana and DeKalb. It isn't hard to figure out Ron Turner's rooting interest.
CHAMPAIGN – Leading by 50 points or in a tie game, Chris Green isn't happy when his Illinois defensive backs get beat.
Just ask Eugene Wilson.
He just got promoted, has age and guile on his side and is producing pro-caliber linemen by the minute.
But Harry Hiestand, as strong a candidate as there is to become a head football coach, isn't doing cartwheels down Kirby Avenue. Maybe when he becomes the best coach in his own house he'll cut loose.
CHAMPAIGN – Now we know. There really are limits to the power this Illinois baseball team can generate.
Not at the plate, mind you. The Illini proved as much Friday afternoon by belting around three Iowa pitchers for 15 runs and 16 hits, including two homers and four doubles.
Even the Big Ten noticed Cary Franklin's stunning rise in the men's tennis rankings.
The league on Thursday named the Illinois senior as this season's first Player of the Week for his efforts at the Blue Gray Classic. Franklin was named MVP after leading the Illini to the Classic co-championship.