Illinois Public Media News



AP - Illinois Public Media News - August 07, 2012

Fighting Illini to Play at Chicago’s Soldier Field

Illinois has added the University of Washington to its 2013 football schedule and will play the Huskies at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Illinois said in a news release Tuesday that the Illini will face the Huskies on Sept. 14.

Illinois has only played one other game at Soldier Field. That was a 10-9 win over Washington State in 1994.

The Illini last played in Chicago in November 2010. Illinois defeated Northwestern 48-27 at Wrigley Field.

The Illini also announced they've finished out their 2013 schedule by adding a Sept. 28 game against Miami (Ohio) at Memorial Stadium in Champaign.

Other non-conference games were also added against Youngstown State in 2014, Western Illinois and Kent State in 2015 and Western Michigan in 2016.

Categories: Education, Sports

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - August 07, 2012

Former Illini Holder Advances At Olympics

Former Illini Nikkita Holder is one of three Canadians advancing to Tuesday's semifinals of the women's 100-meter hurdles at the London Olympics.

The 25-year-old Holder advanced on Monday with a qualifying time of 12.93 seconds. According to a CBC report, Holder said it wasn't her best time. "I'll get through on time and fine tune something for the semifinal," she said.

Holder will compete alongside her teammates Jessica Zelinka, who finished 2nd in her heat, with a time of 12.75 seconds. Another Canadian advancing to the semifinals is Phylicia George, who also 2nd in her heat, at 12.73 seconds.

Americans qualifying for the women's 100-meter hurdles semifinals are Lolo Jones (12.68 seconds), Kellie Wells (12.69 seconds) and Dawn Harper (12.75 seconds).

Alina Talay of Belarus had the fastest time with 12.71 seconds.

UPDATE: Holder finished 6th in the 100 meter semifinals with a 12.93 seconds, and won't compete in the finals later Tuesday. The USA's Dawn Harper finished 1st in the semis with a mark of 12.46.

Categories: Biography, Education, Sports


WILL - Illinois Public Media News - June 29, 2012

Illinois’ Meyers Leonard Going to Portland Trailblazers

The Portland Trailblazers chose Illinois center Meyers Leonard with the 11th overall pick in Thursday night's N-B-A Draft. The Robinson, Illinois native was joined by former Illini coach Bruce Weber at draft headquarters in Newark, New Jersey.

Leonard is the Illini's first, first-round draft pick since Deron Williams and Luther Head in 2005, and the first N-B-A player recruited by Weber in his 14 years as a head coach.

The 7'1" Leonard averaged 13.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season before declaring early for the draft. He led the Big Ten with an average of 1.9 blocks per game.

Under the N-B-A rookie salary scale, Leonard is guaranteed a minimum of $2,899,120 over the next two years.

(Additional reporting from the Associated Press)

Download mp3 file
Categories: Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - June 27, 2012

Governor Quinn Signs Law Requiring Coaches to Report Abuse

Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law that requires coaches and university employees to report cases of abuse.

Quinn's office says the law that goes into effect Wednesday is designed to help further protect children and young people from sex abuse and child abuse.

Illinois lawmakers introduced the measure in response to the sex abuse scandal involving former assistant Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

The law requires athletic personnel, university employees and early intervention providers to report suspected abuse.

Rep. Dwight Kay of Glen Carbon is one of the bill's sponsors, and he says the situation at Penn State made it clear that Illinois needed to tighten up its reporting laws to make sure nothing like that happens here.

Download mp3 file

WILL - Illinois Public Media News - April 27, 2012

Record Sign-Up for Illinois Marathon Events

Once again, registration for this weekend's Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in Champaign-Urbana is at a new high, according to figures as of Friday morning.

Race Co-director Jan Seeley says participation in the Saturday morning marathon itself will be about the same as last year, with 2,269 long-distance runners. But she says registration for all events --- including a half marathon, and 5 and 10 K races --- had reached about 20.300. That's up by about 1,700 from last year.

Seeley says the Illinois Marathon has probably gotten as big as it can get, and still be manageable in a metro area the size of Champaign-Urbana. In fact, she says the big challenge for the organizers and volunteers is making sure people get to where they need to be for the various events.

"We've spent almost all of our brain-trust energy this year, working on ways to move people", says Seeley, who notes improvements in crowd management this year at the Health and Fitness Expo that accompanies the marathon. "And hopefully the changes that we've instituted tomorrow, on the field and up in the food area will show that we've made good changes in logistics, moving people. That's been just a huge goal of ours this year. "

The field of runners includes 43 top-flight runners, categorized as Elite Athletes. Mike Olmquist of the sports event management firm Go Far Events is working with the Elite Athletes. He says the Illinois Marathon is giving more top runners reasons for returning each year.

"Number one, is it is a flat, fast course; it's got a reputation for being fast", says Olmquist. "Number two, it's well-managed; all the bells and whistles are here; they know they're going to have well-organized, marked race. Course safety is an issue. And number three, they really enjoy the east-central Illinois hospitality. There's a good community support here, there's fans. People are very gracious here.

Some of the top contenders in the Saturday marathon include Jose Munoz of San Antonio, who won last year's marathon; Kenyan runner Kipkurui Geofry; ... and Kentuckian Peter Kemboi, who's won marathons in Mississippi, Scranton, Akron and Louisville.

The women's field includes Jackie Pirtle-Hall, who won the GO! St. Louis Marathon earlier this month.

The 4th annual Illinois Marathon kicks off Saturday morning, April 28th at 7, on a route that travels around Champaign and Urbana. But the first race is a 5-K run and walk set for Friday evening at 6:45.

Download mp3 file
Categories: Sports
Tags: sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - April 02, 2012

Fighting Illini’s Leonard Entering NBA Draft

Illinois sophomore center Meyers Leonard has announced he will declare for the 2012 NBA draft.

Leonard averaged 14 points, eight rebounds for the Fighting Illini. His average of two blocked shots last season led the Big Ten. The graduate of Robinson High School in southeastern Illinois earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.

In a statement, Leonard said it was a very difficult decision, but he believes the timing is right for him to follow his dream of playing in the NBA.

Illinois hasn't had a first round NBA Draft pick since Deron Williams and Dee Brown in 2005. Williams plays for the New Jersey Nets. Brown was waived by the Dallas Mavericks in 2010.

Categories: Education, Sports

AP - Illinois Public Media News - March 31, 2012

Ex-Illini Coach Bruce Weber Hired by Kansas State

Bruce Weber knows that Kansas State fans may not accept him right away. That much became clear when a small rally for another coaching candidate turned into a protest of his hiring.

The former Illinois coach doesn't have a problem with that, though.

Weber is up for any challenge that's presented to him.

The former Illinois coach was hired by Kansas State on Saturday to replace Frank Martin, whose departure for South Carolina earlier in the week sent shockwaves through the program. The school moved quickly on the hiring, reaching out to Weber in the last few days and finalizing a deal late Friday.

Weber agreed to a five-year, $8.5 million contract that will pay him $1.5 million next season and an additional $100,000 each remaining year. There are also several benefits.

"It's been a whirlwind, to be honest. Just a few hours ago I was in New Orleans thinking I was going to have gumbo," said Weber, who was attending the Final Four before hopping on a plane with Kansas State athletic director John Currie and heading to Kansas on Saturday.

"We wanted a coach who recognized the tremendous opportunity that exists here at Kansas State," Currie said. "Bruce Weber's name repeatedly rose to the top of the list, whose personal values and integrity matched those of K-State."

Weber was greeted at Bramlage Coliseum by a small group of fans who had been planning to support another candidate, and who were displeased with the hiring of a coach recently fired by Illinois.

Weber was let go after compiling 210-101 record over nine seasons, which included six trips to the NCAA tournament and a national runner-up finish in 2005. The Illini went 17-15 and 6-12 in the Big Ten this season, prompting the administration let Weber go with three years left on his contract.

"I'll be honest: We had a young team, six freshmen, one returning starter," Weber said. "The disappointment of a lot of close losses took a toll. It happens." Weber takes over for Martin, who returned a once-proud program to national prominence after Bob Huggins' departure for West Virginia five years ago. Weber will be the fourth coach to lead Kansas State in the past eight seasons - and the third to cause some consternation among fans.

Huggins was hired still carrying baggage from his messy divorce with Cincinnati, while Martin was a nondescript assistant who had never been a college head coach. Weber certainly has experience running a program. It's just that not all of it has been good.

He was considered one of the rising stars of the profession after taking Southern Illinois to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances, one of which ended in the regional semifinals. He then took over a program at Illinois that had been built into a perennial contender under Bill Self - now the coach at Kansas, just down the Interstate from Manhattan, Kan., and the Wildcats' biggest rival.

The Jayhawks were scheduled to play Ohio State in the Final Four on Saturday, just hours after officials at Kansas State were to announce Weber's hiring. Weber had immediate success at Illinois with players largely recruited by Self, returning to the NCAA tournament his first four seasons. That included a 37-2 record during the 2004-05 season, which ended with a 75-70 loss to North Carolina in the national championship game.

The program began to slip soon after, though, and fans who had grown accustomed to winning began to sour. The Illini had a losing record by Weber's fifth season in charge, and despite winning 20 or more games the next three seasons, the program had faded from the national spotlight.

Weber never seemed entirely comfortable following Self at Illinois, and now he'll be matching wits with the Jayhawks' coach at least twice a year.

In fact, Weber had grown so tired of the comparisons to the uber-successful Self that he walked into the locker room before a game in 2003 dressed entirely in black. The quirky coach told the Illini that he was "going to throw a funeral. It's the end of Bill Self."

The idea was to somehow get across the message that the program had moved on.

That's exactly what Kansas State fans are being forced to do.

Martin's intense style and own quirks endeared him to many Kansas State fans. Of course, the winning helped - at least 20 wins each of the past five seasons, four of them ending in NCAA tournament berths, with a trip to the regional finals with Jacob Pullen in 2010.

The school's career scoring leader, Pullen grew up in Chicago and now plays overseas. He offered his assessment of the hiring via Twitter, even misspelling Weber's name: "Bruce Webber didn't think I was good enough to play at Illinois and I don't think he is good enough to coach at Kansas State."

Others have praised the hiring of Weber, whose strong recruiting ties to Chicago will no doubt come in handy at a school that's forced to recruit nationally. Weber is also energetic and personable, two traits that will help as he attempts to quell a fan base wary of more change.

"Give me a chance," Weber said. "It doesn't matter where you go or which coach you hired, there was always going to be a question mark. There's no doubt about that. That's part of college sports.

Categories: Biography, Education, Sports

Page 29 of 45 pages ‹ First  < 27 28 29 30 31 >  Last ›