Illinois' baseball recruiting class will include a catcher after all.
Having lost prized recruit Nick Trzesniak to the pros, the Illini coaching staff went in search of a replacement and came up this week with Pat Arlis of Class A power Addison Driscoll.
CHAMPAIGN – Trent Green's memories of Champaign are not so fond. In 1988, the Indiana redshirt freshman sat on the sidelines in freezing cold as Jeff George rallied Illinois for a victory against Green's Hoosiers.
After becoming a starter late in his college career and Indiana and Illinois not playing for two years, Green never faced the Illini. But he began training camp as the St. Louis Rams' new starting quarterback back in Champaign – in sweltering heat.
CHAMPAIGN – For most of his football life, Robert Holcombe has been the man, the featured back in a team's offense.
As a record-setting tailback at Illinois, Holcombe appreciated the job his fullbacks did. Now, the St. Louis Rams are asking Holcombe to give up the ball and do the dirty work.
Dick Vermeil built his coaching comeback around graybeard assistants and an instinctive emphasis on defense.
But the former Philadelphia Eagles coach and longtime TV analyst isn't too old to change, not when he looked back on 5-11 and 4-12 seasons in St. Louis and a dearth of offense.
Janet Rayfield and Missy Price were named assistant soccer coaches for Illinois' women's soccer team Thursday to complete coach Tricia Taliaferro's staff.
CHAMPAIGN – In the midst of summer's hottest weather, John Lockhart was rounding up some sweaters and picking out a jacket.
It's wintertime in Australia, you know.
CHAMPAIGN – A few days in East Central Illinois last summer pushed Peyton Manning toward a solid rookie season. The Indianapolis Colts quarterback wishes Edgerrin James would follow his plan.
Instead of practicing with his new team on the Illinois campus, the former Miami running back is holding out.
CHAMPAIGN – The tall guy wearing the Illinois shirt tried to blend in with the crowd. It didn't work.
NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, dressed like a Champaign-Urbana native, watched the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Rams practice Thursday morning at the Illinois soccer complex.
It is the mark of a great athletic program that it fields championship-level teams, keeps its nose clean and, in some manner, "gives back."
Coach Lon Kruger is presenting a well-managed operation that is developing along these lines. At no time in this decade has Illini basketball appeared more robust. Expectations for yet-unseen talent put the 2000 team directly behind Final Four powers Michigan State and Ohio State in the Big Ten. Kruger''s recruiting guns are so hot that Illinois is believed to be No. 1 with prize juniors Eddy Curry, Roger Powell and Pierre Pierce.
URBANA – For the past year, Mark Bial has served as his own contractor in the building of a new house for his family.
On Wednesday, the Urbana resident tackled another construction project: the rebuilding of the Urbana High School boys' basketball team.