They''re not highly touted, but ex-Illini still have pro dreams

You won''t find his name in Mel Kiper Jr.''s midseason draft prospectus. Frank Coyle, an NFL scout who runs, hadn''t heard of him.

Joe Bevis knows he''s the ultimate long shot to play in the NFL. The Illinois senior doesn''t have an agent and is working out on his own, so he knows the odds.

Tate: UI can usher in a new era of success

For those who followed Illini athletics in 1952, championships seemed almost routine, almost automatic.

Eight men''s teams ruled the Big Ten in one school year. For opponents, Huff Hall was a House of Horrors. And Kenney Gym was worse.

Grentz, Illini at the crossroads

CHAMPAIGN – On the face of it, Illinois'' women''s basketball program has been here before.

It was a decade ago, to be precise. In 1994-95, the Illini posted a 10-win season and 10th-place Big Ten finish.

The highlight zone

The Big Ten''s irregular regular season ends today, and though they say it was a down year in the league, there''s plenty to talk about. The News-Gazette''s Brett Dawson and Jim Rossow take a look back, including a glimpse at how Dawson probably will vote on his All-Big Ten ballot, due Monday:

UI Roundup: Fortune, Coriddi steer streaking Illini in right direction

Amanda Fortune tossed a three-hit shutout against Tennessee Tech and Rachelle Coriddi had four hits against UNLV as Illinois on Saturday moved into the semifinals at the Speedline Tournament in Clearwater, Fla.

Katie O''Connell was 3 for 3 to support Fortune in a 3-0 win. Fortune (9-1) had nine strikeouts. Against UNLV, Jenna Hall had three RBI and Lindsey Hamma had two hits and two runs.

Right on the mark

IOWA CITY, Iowa – To mark his program''s latest head-turning accomplishment, Illinois men''s tennis coach Craig Tiley gathered his players after their record-tying 45th consecutive win Saturday.

And chewed them out.

Sky high

Eleven-thousand feet into turbulent air, Bruce Weber is at peace.

His cellular phone, a constant, chirping companion, catches a few rare moments of sleep.

Ex-Boilermaker Painter keeping Southern Illinois on map

CARBONDALE – For five years, Matt Painter watched Bruce Weber pass out T-shirts at summer camps and unload bags from the team bus. Weber was a head coach acting like an assistant. A hungry one.

The lessons from the School of Weber have turned out to be handy for Painter. In his first year as head coach, Painter has led Southern Illinois to a 24-3 record, a Top 25 ranking and an almost-perfect Missouri Valley Conference record. Only a loss Monday at Northern Iowa kept the Salukis from finishing 18-0 and matching Oklahoma''s Valley record ... set in 1928.

UI Roundup: Coriddi heats up for Illinois

Rachelle Coriddi went 5 for 8 on the day, leading Illinois to two wins Friday at the Speedline Invitational in Clearwater, Fla.

Coriddi went 4 for 4 and scored two runs in the Illini''s 6-0 victory against Villanova. In the UI''s 2-1 win against Hofstra, Coriddi was 1 for 4.

Destiny''s door open to Illinois

IOWA CITY, Iowa – There''s a framed article hanging in the Atkins Tennis Center office of Illinois men''s coach Craig Tiley, a story commemorating Illinois'' record-breaking Big Ten winning streak.

"I remember getting to about 30 and someone saying, ''You''re 11 from breaking the Big Ten record,'' " Tiley said. "I thought, ''Well, that''s pretty neat.'' I never would have dreamed we would have a chance to do the same thing nationally."