Leave the Illinois coaching hire up to me, and the choice already would have been made. And, much to my disappointment, the choosie would have said, "No thanks."
Urban Meyer? Nah, though he ought to be in the Big Ten.
CHAMPAIGN – Illinois football in 1996: A 2-9 record. A 48-0 loss to Ohio State the day before the coach was fired. Quiet relief among the players that a change was made.
Illinois football in 2004: A 3-8 record. A heartbreaking overtime loss to Northwestern two days before the coach was fired. Players wanting him to stay around.
CHAMPAIGN – Maybe the Iowa Hawkeyes have seen enough of Jen Hynds, but her own coach sure hasn''t.
It''s performances like the one the 6-foot-3 middle blocker put on Saturday night that make Don Hardin realize what his Illinois volleyball team has been missing for too long.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – For the first time in a long time, Illinois wasn''t able to overcome the odds.
Playing a Santa Clara team that one week earlier stunned perennial champion North Carolina, the Illini lost their Elite Eight women''s soccer match 2-0 Saturday in front of 2,160 fans on a field wet from heavy overnight and early-morning rains.
We''re going to assume Utah''s Urban Meyer won''t pursue the Illinois job, especially with Florida and Washington available. But here are 18 guys who realistically could expect a call from UI athletic director Ron Guenther:
INDIANAPOLIS – John Wooden enjoyed the Illini''s show Saturday at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The 94-year-old former UCLA coach was a witness to the ultimate in sharing. He saw a breathtaking celebration of "team." If the culture of basketball is "me," he saw the opposite.
INDIANAPOLIS – A fan clad in Cincinnati Bearcats garb trudged to the top of the stairs, and as he left the seating area at Conseco Fieldhouse for halftime of Saturday''sIllinois-Gonzaga game, he spotted a gaggle of Illinois fans in front of him.
"You guys look good," the Cincinnati backer said of Bruce Weber''s gang. "Pretty awesome."
INDIANAPOLIS – Maybe it was when Illinois'' Roger Powell Jr. stepped backward, glanced at the three-point line, then calmly buried his first triple of the season.
Maybe it was when Gonzaga big man Ronny Turiaf, stifled all afternoon, began berating his teammates out of frustration.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – A trip to the East Coast did Philadelphia native Theresa Grentz some good. It wasn''t too bad for Danyel Crutcher, either.
The freshman forward from nearby Orange, N.J., had 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks as the undefeated Illini beat St. Peter''s 81-55 in a nonconference women''s basketball game Saturday.