I was Big Ten Player of the Year in baseball and a first-team All-American in 1990. A versatile player throughout my career, I moved behind the plate that season when starting catcher Sean Mulligan was injured in mid-April and caught for a team that won the Big Ten tournament and went 2-2 in an NCAA regional. I hit 16 home runs and drove in 73 runs that year. The latter figure remains tied for the third-highest single-season RBI total in UI history. I later played parts of five seasons in the major leagues with the Angels, Blue Jays and White Sox.
When you''re short-handed, you improvise.
And that''s what pass-minded new Illinois football coaches have in mind in filling pass-catching needs this season.
I was the 1962 NCAA swimming champion in the 220-yard freestyle, helping Illinois tie for 10th in the team standings. My time of 2 minutes, 0.9 seconds was the second-fastest winning clocking in the event in NCAA Championships history. It remains that way, since the NCAA converted the event the following year to 200 yards. I also was an All-American in 1961, and I was selected team MVP from 1961 to ''63.
CHAMPAIGN – Brian Randle isn''t ready.
Oh, he''s feeling fine, his surgically repaired hand and shoulder finally rounding into healthy form. And he''s been honing his perimeter skills as best he can, working on his ball handling and his outside shot.
If it works the way Garrett Edwards hopes, he will win his final high school game at Memorial Stadium and keep the victory streak going in college.
The Downers Grove North quarterback/safety gave a commitment to Ron Zook''s Illinois football team. Edwards will play free safety at Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN – You strike it rich in the NBA, you''re supposed to get a new ride.
An SUV. A sports car. Something luxurious. It''s an unwritten rookie rule.
I was a three-time All-American in fencing, earning that accolade in the foil from 1972 to ''74 for Illini teams that won NCAA titles each year. My one Big Ten crown also came in my signature event, in 1974. After a 10-year break from competitive fencing, I re-entered the sport at age 30 and made the 1988 U.S. Olympic team as a 34-year-old.
I am in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. In 1938, I won the NCAA title at 165 pounds for an Illini team that placed second nationally. One year earlier, I was the national runner-up at 175. Besides earning All-America honors for those feats, I was a two-time Big Ten champion – capturing 165-pound crowns in 1937 and ''38. A graduate of East Chicago (Ind.) Roosevelt, I''m also in the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
POMONA, Calif. – Illinois sophomore Andrew Eklov won his second straight Western Region ITA Collegiate Summer Circuit tournament, defeating Cal''s Kyle Roybal 6-4, 6-2 in the final.