Loren Tate

Loren Tate

Tate: Flyin Illini, come on down

Hear from Mark Coomes Saturday at 9:10 on WDWS.

The Flyin’ Illini season of 1989 marked the culmination of a decade in which the UI was established as one of the nation’s top-10 basketball programs.

Tate: McGee needs helping hand

The passers will pass, and the runners will run.

That’s how the pros do it, and that’s how new Illini offensive coordinator Garrick McGee will operate next fall. With senior Wes Lunt returning at quarterback, the concept in the recently completed spring session was familiar even if the system is different.

Tate: Know your enemies or miss a bowl bid

In his heart, Urban Meyer doesn’t much care who, when or where his Ohio State football team plays.

He’s ready to take on the world. After he fills the NFL’s first round with talented departures Thursday, it’s “national championship or bust” for the Buckeyes. Bring on Michigan. Bring on Alabama.

Tate: Shine fades from men's spring teams

With last year’s 50-victory rampage a fading memory, Dan Hartleb’s Illini baseball team arose this morning with its back to the wall.

After Saturday’s unimpressive 9-1 loss to Ohio State, the teams will match 5-6 conference records at 1 p.m. here today with the realization that it’ll probably take .500 or better to reach the eight-team Big Ten tournament.

Tate: Turk's club in state of change

Mike Turk’s defending Big Ten outdoor champions will send nearly 40 Illini athletes into Saturday’s Twilight meet at the Illinois Track Stadium.

But the 4:30 p.m. start of running events won’t serve as a home tuneup for another conference title run. The Illini men’s track and field team is too young and missing too many key scorers.

Tate: Coaches walk fine line

There’s a growing trend of unhappiness in women’s college basketball.

At the top level, fans and administrators are rankled by the lopsided nature of the NCAA championships where UConn wins every game, year after year, by double figures.

Tate: Youngsters showing promise early

If patience is a virtue, what is the reward?

A fresh football buzz is reverberating in Illini circles. High school prospects are displaying interest. Even rival coaches applauded the hiring of Lovie Smith in a conference call.

Tate: Lights, camera, (some) action

CHAMPAIGN — If you’re a fan looking for highlights, Ke’Shawn Vaughn threw a lightning bolt into Lovie Smith’s No. 1 defense with a 42-yard burst on Saturday’s first scrimmage play at Memorial Stadium.

Tate: Bandwagon filling up fast

Jason Heyward had consecutive two-RBI games early this week at Wrigley Field.

A somewhat-erratic slugger, he was a powerhouse down the stretch for St. Louis last year. He offers maturity to a youth-driven Cub regime that is taking the National League by storm.

Tate: Legal messes begin to clear

If the decision was purely his, UI women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant would never agree to settle with seven departed litigants.