Gary Friedman
(Illinois State University)
May 13, 2013

Illinois State University Athletic Director Quits

Illinois State University Athletic Director Gary Friedman has resigned effective June 30.

ISU President Al Bowman on Monday appointed the school's deputy director of intercollegiate athletics, Larry Lyons, as the university's new athletic director. Lyons will serve a three-year term starting July 1.

Friedman said in a statement that being athletic director "simply was not the right fit.''

Friedman took the job in Normal two years ago in May 2011. He previously worked at Louisville for a decade.

The Pantagraph reports that Lyons has been with Illinois State for 26 years. He was interim director of athletics in spring of 2011. His current responsibilities include human resources and supervising athletic training and athletic equipment.


April 29, 2013

NBA Player Becomes First Openly Gay Professional Male Athlete In Major Sport

NBA veteran center Jason Collins has become the first active male professional athlete in the major four American sports leagues to come out as gay.

Collins wrote a first-person account posted Monday on Sports Illustrated's website. The 34-year-old Collins has played for six NBA teams in 12 seasons. He finished this past season with the Washington Wizards and is now a free agent. He says he wants to continue playing.

Collins writes: "If I had my way, someone else would have already done this. Nobody has, which is why I'm raising my hand."

Collins played in a Final Four for Stanford and reached two NBA Finals. His twin brother, Jarron, was also a longtime NBA center. Jason says he came out to his brother last summer.


Carl Allegretti
(Lindsey Moon/WILL)
April 28, 2013

Boston Bombings on Minds of Many at Illinois Marathon

Some 21,000 people registered to take part in the Illinois Marathon in Champaign-Urbana over the weekend, and the recent Boston Marathon bombings were clearly on the minds of many of the runners.

Martin Repetto, 50, of Champaign competed in the half-Marathon event on Saturday, wearing black running shorts. Repetto said it was “absolutely important” to him to show his sympathy for the victims, and make a statement against the attack.

“This (the marathon) should be a party, you know, and the Boston Marathon should be a party,” said Repetto, who added there was no reason for violence.

Illinois Marathon 5k race participant Carl Allegretti wore a Boston Marathon jacket, in memory of the victims of the bombings.

Allegretti, of the Chicago suburb of Frankfort, is chairman and CEO of Deloitte Tax LLP, part of professional services giant Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. He said the shadow that the Boston attacks cast over the Illinois Marathon will not last, because of the resiliency of Americans.

“We go through whatever tragedy we’ve lived through, people pull together,” said Allegretti, who ran with his son in Friday's 5k event. “It’s been an unfortunate year, if you think back on the tragedies that have happened in this country over the past 12 months. But America comes together. They can’t stop us.”

Allegretti said he felt a particular bond to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings because he had run in the Boston Marathon just last year. Several of his employees ran in this year’s marathon. One of those killed in the bombings, Chinese graduate student Lu Lingzi, had been a Deloitte intern.

In all, three people died in the Boston Marathon bombings, and 282 people were injured.

The Boston Marathon bombings prompted new security restrictions at the Illinois Marathon. There was a bigger police presence this year, and the public was barred from some areas in and around the finish line.


Mile six of the Illinois Marathon included a tribute to the Boston marathon bombing victims.
(Lindsey Moon/WILL)
April 27, 2013

Hird and Herron Win 2013 Illinois Marathon

Naperville’s Nick Hird won the 5th annual Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon on Saturday morning.

The 29-year-old ran the Champaign-Urbana route in two hours, 23 minutes and 56 seconds.

Oklahoma runner Camille Herron, whose website proclaims "Trains like a monk; lives like an animal,"  was the winner in the women's division. Her time was two hours, 45 minutes and 48 seconds.

Both winners set the second fastest times ever clocked in the five-year-old event, behind the 2012 Illinois Marathon winners, Jason Lokwatom (2:22:46) and Jackie Pirtle-Hall (2:43:52).

Lots of runners in the Illinois Marathon paid tribute to the  Boston Marathon bombing victims by wearing black ribbons.This year's race attracted 1,072 men and 749 women.

In other Illinois Marathon Events, 28-year-old Ryan Giuliano of Oakwood Hills, Illinois won the Men’s Half Marathon in 1:09:33. Meanwhile, 33-year-old Christina Johnson of Xenia, Ohio was the women’s winner at 1:18:41.

South Korean Paralympic medalist Gyudae Kim, who now lives in Champaign, won the Men’s Wheelchair Half Marathon with a time of 48:12. Paralympic medalist and former Illini, Amanda McGrory of Champaign, won the women’s division with a time of 50:47.

Canadian Paul Rochus, 19, won the men’s 10k race, with a time of 34:13.

“Wow I made the local paper!” Rochus tweeted after seeing his win reported by the News-Gazette.

Rachel Zubricky, 28, of Champaign was the women’s winner with a time of 40:16.

Events at the Illinois Marathon attracted around 21,000 entrants. There were 1,821 men and women competiting in the full marathon. The half-marathon attracted 6,193 men and women, the largest number of any single event.

This year's Illinois Marathon featured extra security measures in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

There were additional police and other personnel along the marathon route, and the public was prohibited from meeting athletes on the Memorial Stadium Field where the finish line was located, or in the area where athletes go to pick up their bags.

In another relfection of the Boston Marathon bombings, many Illinois Marathon participants wore black ribbons or other items, in tribute to the bombing victims.


April 22, 2013

Illinois Marathon in Need of More Volunteers

Organizers of the Illinois Marathon say they are still short by about 100 volunteers for this weekend’s events in Champaign-Urbana.

Coordinator Mary Anderson said volunteers are encouraged at busier intersections, where police will also be on the scene to direct traffic.

Anderson said there is also a need for volunteers to support the runners as the end of the course draws closer, cheering them on and pointing them in the right direction.

She said she is not sure why there is a drop in volunteerism from a year ago.

“We have a lot of people that do this and come a great time and come back year after year – they have taken the territory of the safe intersection each year, and really look forward to it and they make an event out of it,” Anderson said. “I think that we lose some volunteers that become participants the next year.  I think that’s certainly the one reason why we have to have these press releases at the last minute.”

Sixteen volunteers are needed for Friday’s 5K run - 50 for the marathon itself Saturday, and 30 helpers are sought for the course intersection team reserves.

Anderson said last week’s bombings at the Boston Marathon have required additional police presence, but have not prompted a call for more volunteers.

There are volunteer meetings scheduled 6 pm on Monday, and 7pm on Tuesday at the U of I’s Activities and Recreation Center on Peabody Drive.


Tatyana McFadden and Prince Harry
(Tatyana McFadden)
April 22, 2013

U. of Illinois Student Wins London Marathon's Wheel Chair Race

Tatyana McFadden, a 24-year-old student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has won the women's wheelchair race in the London Marathon.

McFadden's victory comes a week after she won the same race in the Boston Marathon. 

"You know this whole weekend was dedicated to Boston and we got huge support from London," McFadden told the BBC. "So, I couldn't be happier - just getting support. It was just a wonderful day."

Before Sunday's race, she sad to The Associated Press that she would be racing for the people in Boston.

"I'll be carrying them in my heart," she said.

Six days after bombs exploded near the Boston finish line, the London Marathon sent out a powerful message of solidarity with the U.S. city and its victims Sunday and put the spotlight back on the sport and away from terrorist fears.

According to McFaddensaid, a winner of three gold medals at the London Paralympics, sports can help inspire those trying to recover.

"I feel it's my responsibility," she said. "It's important as an elite runner - and an elite runner with a disability - to be a role model to those who, especially who are newly injured. ... It's important for me to be an advocate. I go everywhere just to talk about disability and rebirthing life. I have lived with many challenges in my life, every single day, and so I know somewhat of what it's like."

The men's race began with a poignant 30-second period of silence to remember Boston's dead and injured and ended with a thrilling finish.

Under clear blue skies, Tsegaye Kebede chased down Emmanuel Mutai in the closing stages and overtook the tiring Kenyan to secure a second London title on The Mall in 2 hours, 6 minutes and 4 seconds, while compatriot Ayele Abshero was third.

"What happened in Boston, it shocked everybody — I didn't want to believe it," said Kebede, who also won in London in 2010. "Sport is not like that — sport is not political. Sport is free from everything. We have to focus more on sport. This is for them (in Boston).

"This is education for those who made this accident."

The women's race was won by Olympic silver medalist Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya in 2:20:15.

About 34,000 runners competed in London, and organizers pledged to donate 2 pounds ($3) for every finisher to "The One Fund Boston" set up to raise money for the bomb victims.

Before the silence at the start of the race, announcer Geoff Wightman urged athletes to "remember our friends and colleagues for whom a day of joy turned into a day of sadness."

Tributes to Boston were visible all around the course, including a banner that said: "Run if you can, walk if you must, but finish for Boston."

"It speaks volumes for London and this race," London Marathon chief executive Nick Bitel said. "It was the perfect response to the horrors we saw in Boston. This shows the solidarity with the British and American people."

Prince Harry mingled with the crowds and said he had never thought about canceling his visit following the bombings.

"It's fantastic, typically British," he said. "People are saying they haven't seen crowds like this for eight years around the route. It's remarkable to see."

Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the route and showed they would not be cowered.

"I was surprised to see so many people there," said Mutai, who blamed hip and thigh problems for losing his lead near the end. "But I think what gave the people guarantees is, after what happened in Boston, the people came out to say in terms of security everything is fully covered."

Police manpower was increased by 40 percent to provide a security operation that, while noticeable, was not intrusive along the 26.2-mile course.

In the women's marathon, Jeptoo was a runaway winner ahead of compatriot Edna Kiplagat and Japan's Yukiko Akaba.

"I was surprised so many people on the way cheering us," Jeptoo said after clocking the fastest time this year. "And that shows there was no fear for those people."

The only blot on a day marked by the defiance of athletes was the dispute that broke out during the women's race.

Olympic champion Tiki Gelana was angry that her hopes were thwarted by a collision about a third of the way in with Canadian wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy as she went to get a drink.

The Ethiopian finished 16th after losing ground on the leading pack, while Cassidy had to settle for 20th in his race.

"The safest thing would be to have the chairs start first because one of these years a woman is going to have a leg broken, a career ruined," Cassidy said. "It's just not worth having this program if the races are going to suffer."

This week kicks off the start of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon in Champaign-Urbana, and the Chicago Marathon is slated for October. Officials say both races will not be canceled in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, but Gov. Pat Quinn has urged people to remain vigilant about the dangers of terrorism.


Amanda McGrory
(Seth WenigAP)
April 21, 2013

Racing Again, Boston Marathon Medalist Stops to Pause

A member of the University of Illinois' track and road racing team is gearing up to race again after competiitng in the Boston Marathon.

Amanda McGrory, 26, came in third place in the Boston Marathon women's wheelchair division. But elation gave way to sadness when the blasts went off shortly thereafter. Now McGrory is in London to compete in Sunday's marathon. She talks to NPR's Jacki Lyden about how it feels so race again so soon after the terror.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

Amanda McGrory knows what it's like to have your whole life change in an instant. When she was just 5 years old, she came down with a rare disease that damaged her spine. One morning, she woke up and could no longer stand, paralyzed from the waist down. Amanda adapted to life in a wheelchair. She turned to sports, and today at age 26 is a world-class wheelchair athlete. She's in London now, ready to race in tomorrow's marathon. Just a few days ago, though, she came in third at the Boston Marathon's women's wheelchair division, blissfully unaware of the tragedy that would soon unfold.

AMANDA MCGRORY: Last Monday was an absolutely gorgeous day in Boston. I'd had a little bit of bad luck there in the past. It tends to be cold and rainy absolutely every time I do that race, so I was pretty excited that it was cool and clear. Things started off for me fantastically. Unfortunately, I had a bit of a crash at the 5K mark and came out of my chair, slid across the road and got dropped by the lead pack of women. But luckily enough, I was able to chase back to them, make up some time and finish third in the end.

LYDEN: And then these feelings of elation after this hard-earned achievement, then come the bombs. What were your thoughts then?

MCGRORY: The bombing came to all of us as quite a shock. We finished quite a few hours before that and were already back in our hotel room, and I started receiving text messages from friends and family members asking if I was okay and what was going on. And because I'd had the crash during the race, I assumed that they all heard about that and were asking about me.

So being completely naive, I was writing back to everyone saying, oh, I'm just a little scratched up, everything is fine. And it wasn't until about 20 minutes later that we received a call with someone telling us to turn the TV, that there'd been an explosion at the finish line. And as soon as I heard that, my heart just sank.

LYDEN: Now, you and four other paralympians are in London to race once more. I'm just wondering, how do you feel about competing so soon after the event in Boston?

MCGRORY: Watching the response of the people in Boston after the bombings made me really proud to be a member of the marathon, running community. To watch everyone come together to help the people at the finish line and to carry on was an amazing experience. Living in fear is a terrible thing. And the best way to fight against this terrible attack, I think, is to carry on and continue running marathons and keep doing what we love.

LYDEN: Now, a number of people have lost limbs. They will be relying on wheelchairs and prosthetics. I understand that you and your fellow racers have talked about using your experiences to help make people make this transition.

MCGRORY: The transition from being an able-bodied person to a wheelchair user and amputee is always difficult. It's a long, long road paved with many obstacles. And while it's not something that a newly injured person wants to hear right away, I think that it is definitely helpful. It was incredibly helpful for me at some point after my injury to meet other people and learn that there were still things that I could do: I could still be an athlete, I could still go to school, I could still have a job, still have a family. And I think that I would love to help those people.

LYDEN: So you are racing tomorrow, and I'm sure that you're going to be in the athlete's frame of mind - I want to win - but anything else that's going to be on your mind?

MCGRORY: I'll definitely be racing for those in Boston. One of my teammates, I think, said it best, that she was just blown away by the irony of everything, that we're at this wonderful event celebrating being alive, and it's so positive, and there's such a fantastic energy surrounding it. And for it to change so quickly into an event where people are losing their lives is just terrible.

LYDEN: Perhaps at the marathon, some of the fervor about it being positive and about it being the best of what people can do is something you can help achieve part of that mood and momentum again.

MCGRORY: Running a marathon is a huge, huge accomplishment. It's a great test of the limits of the human body. And I hope that all the positivity and all of that great energy comes out again on Sunday.

LYDEN: That's Amanda McGrory. She's a part of the University of Illinois track and road racing team. And, Amanda, good luck. Thanks for speaking to us from London.

MCGRORY: No problem. Thank you so much for having me.

Listen

April 01, 2013

Final Four Set After Blowouts and Another Surprise

After a season of uncertainty, there's a clear favorite heading to the Final Four.

The Louisville Cardinals.

While the other No. 1s have fallen by the wayside, the top overall seed romped to the Georgia Dome with four dominant wins in the NCAA tournament. And, if the Cardinals need any extra motivation, they've got it.

Sophomore guard Kevin Ware, who played his high school ball in the Atlanta suburbs, sustained a gruesome injury in Sunday's regional final against Duke. Before he headed off to surgery, he courageously urged his teammates to finish the job.

Now, they would like nothing more than to win it all for Ware.

"We talked about it every timeout, 'Get Kevin home,'" coach Rick Pitino said.

Next stop, the A-T-L, where three rather unlikely teams will be looking to knock off the mighty Cardinals.

First up, the surprising Shockers from Wichita State in the semifinals Saturday. The No. 9 seed has already pulled off two major upsets, but this would be the biggest stunner yet.

If Louisville makes it through to next Monday night's title game, the opponent would be either Michigan, sporting a new group of Fab Wolverines, or Syracuse, which comes at you with the stingiest zone defense in college basketball. The two No. 4 seeds will meet in the other semifinal game.

All are underdogs to the Cardinals, who are winning by an average of nearly 22 points a game in the tournament.

"I thought we had a chance there, and then boom," said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who watched Louisville pull away for an 85-63 victory in the Midwest Regional final. "That's what they do to teams. They can boom you."

In the other game Sunday, Michigan captured the South Regional with a 79-59 rout of Florida, leading from the opening tip. A day earlier, Syracuse shut down Marquette 55-39 to win the East Regional, while Wichita State punched its Final Four ticket with a 70-66 upset of Ohio State out West.

In the final year of the Big East before it splits into two new conferences, Louisville and Syracuse provided a fitting send-off to a league that quickly became a basketball powerhouse after it was founded in 1979.

Before it goes, this version of the Big East has a shot at one more national title.

With two teams, no less.

The Cardinals — who, like Syracuse, are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference — shook off the incredible shock of Ware's injury with about 6½ minutes to go before halftime and blew out the second-seeded Blue Devils. The sophomore snapped his lower right leg after coming down awkwardly while defending a 3-point shot. The injury occurred right in front of the Louisville bench, where the players gasped and turned away quickly at the sight of Ware's dangling leg, which was broken in two places.

Russ Smith collapsed onto the floor, along with several players, and was crying as doctors attended to Ware. While Ware was loaded onto a stretcher, the Cardinals gathered at midcourt until Pitino called them over, saying the injured player wanted to talk to them before he left.

"All he kept saying — and remember, the bone is 6 inches out of his leg — all he's yelling is, 'Win the game! Win the game!'" Pitino said. "I've never seen that in my life. We're all distraught and all he's saying is, 'Win the game.' Kevin is a special young man."

This is a special team. Smith scored 23 points. Gorgui Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

The Cardinals (33-5) simply refused to lose, breaking open a game that was tied at 42. They dove on the floor for loose balls. They pounded the boards ferociously. They contested every shot and swarmed around the Blue Devils like they had an extra player on the court.

In a sense, they did, as Pitino reminded them during every timeout.

"This is a gritty bunch," the coach said. "From the beginning of the year to now, they've not had a bad game. I'm really proud of these guys."

Wichita State was the most improbable team to advance. The Shockers lived up to their nickname in the West, knocking off top-seeded Gonzaga in the second round and No. 2 seed Ohio State in the regional final Saturday night.

Wichita State (30-8) built a 20-point lead on the Buckeyes, then managed to hang on through a nerve-racking final five minutes to pull off the latest upset in a tournament filled with them.

That other team from Kansas isn't content yet.

"It feels very good," said Cleanthony Early, a junior forward who, like most of his teammates, was passed over by higher-profile programs, "but we understand the fact that we've got to stay hungry and humble, because we've got two more games left to really be excited about."

Old-timers might remember Louisville and Wichita State as former conference rivals. The Cardinals were a member of the Missouri Valley Conference in the 1960s and '70s, which meant annual games against the Shockers.

Louisville holds a 19-5 edge in the series, but the teams haven't played since 1976.

Michigan (30-7) is headed back to the Final Four for the first time since the Fab Five era of the early 1990s, when the Wolverines lost in back-to-back national title games.

This team has the same youthful feel, led by sophomore Trey Burke, the Big Ten player of the year, and three freshmen starters. They were downright fabulous against third-seeded Florida, never seriously threatened after scoring the first 13 points.

"A lot of guys said we were really young and that we couldn't get here," said Burke, who scored 15 points against Florida but really came through in an improbable comeback against top-seeded Kansas in the regional semifinals. "We're here now and we still have unfinished business."

One of the freshmen, Nik Stauskas, hit all six of his 3-pointers and scored 22 points to lead the Wolverines. Another of the youngsters, 6-foot-10 Mitch McGary, chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds.

Florida became the first team to lose three straight regional finals.

The Wolverines will have their work cut out against Syracuse (30-9), a team that has totally stuffed its NCAA opponents with a stifling zone defense. The Orange are headed to their first Final Four since winning it all in 2003 largely because they have allowed fewer than 46 points a game in the tournament.

Syracuse leads the series against Michigan 8-5. Their last meeting was Nov. 26, 2010, when the Orange prevailed 53-50 in the Legends Classic at Atlantic City, N.J.

The schools have never met in the NCAA tournament.

Syracuse has been like an octopus when it settles in around the its own lane — shutting off passing routes, preventing anyone from penetrating, yet still managing to defend the 3-point line with quickness and long arms. Montana, California, top-seeded Indiana and Marquette combined to make just under 29 percent from the field (61 of 211) and a paltry 15.4 percent (14 of 91) outside the arc.

"We were as active these two games here in Washington as we've ever been," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said after Saturday's win over league rival Marquette, which is headed to a new version of the Big East next season. "I just really can't say enough about how good these guys played on the defensive end of the court."


The jerseys of Manchester City (left) and Chelsea (right) at Busch Stadium on March 29. The teams will play an exhibition game at the stadium on May 23.
(Rachel Lippmann/IPR)
March 30, 2013

Storied Soccer Rivalry Coming to Busch Stadium

St. Louis soccer fans rejoice - you'll get a chance to see a storied rivalry right here in the city.

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that Manchester City and Chelsea of the English Premier League will play an exhibition match at Busch Stadium on May 23, with kick-off at 7:30 p.m. There will be a practice the day before open to those holding all-inclusive tickets.

The game will be played four days after the end of the English Premier League season, and Charlie Stillitano, the CEO of Relevent Sports, the management company bringing the game to Busch, says there will be plenty of bad blood left over.

"So if you think they're not going to play hard, you've got another thing coming to you," he said. "These guys will act as if this is the FA Cup final for them." That means full rosters from both teams will make the trip.

The game marks the first time Chelsea will appear in St. Louis. Manchester City was last here in 1955. It's also the first time that the current Busch Stadium will host a sport other than baseball. (It's been the site of several concerts.)

Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III says it'll be a good test.

"We’re excited about soccer because it’s a new thing for us," he said.  "We think that some more soccer, as well as perhaps some football, maybe even some hockey, and just explore what we can do with this facility."

The grounds crew will have about three days to convert the baseball diamond to a soccer pitch. That will involve digging up the pitcher’s mound and sodding part of the warning track.

Tickets go on sale April 2 at 10 a.m. through all the usual outlets.


March 29, 2013

Northwestern Hires Collins As Coach

Northwestern hired longtime Duke assistant Chris Collins on Tuesday night to replace the fired Bill Carmody, hoping he can finally lead the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament and into the upper echelon of the Big Ten.

In many ways, Collins seems like a logical fit given his ties to the area, Northwestern' s academic similarities to Duke and his basketball pedigree. He is from suburban Northbrook, Ill., about 15 miles from the campus in Evanston, played for the Blue Devils and spent the past 13 years on Mike Krzyzewski's staff. He is the son of Doug Collins, the former Chicago Bulls head coach now with the Philadelphia 76ers.

"I'm so grateful ... for the opportunity to lead the men's basketball program at one of the premier universities in the world, to compete in the Big Ten Conference, and to do so in my hometown," Collins said in a statement released by the school. "Northwestern University is a special place that strives for excellence in every regard, and our program will be no different. I can't possibly thank Coach Krzyzewski and Duke University enough for preparing me for this day."

His task at Northwestern is to get to the NCAA tournament. That's something the Wildcats have never done, although they came close in recent years under Carmody. He was let go after 13 seasons.

Collins is a former Mr. Basketball in Illinois who became a star guard and team captain at Duke from 1993-96. He played overseas before starting a coaching career that included stints with the WNBA's Detroit Shock and with Tommy Amaker's staff at Seton Hall. Collins joined Krzyzewski's staff in 2000 and was promoted to associate head coach in 2008.

"He has a tremendous pedigree as a basketball coach and will be an outstanding leader for Chicago's Big Ten team, and mentor for our student-athletes," Jon Phillips, Northwestern's vice president for athletics and recreation, said in the university's statement. "After a thorough and comprehensive search process, there is no doubt he is a perfect fit for this institution and our men's basketball program."

Collins will finish the season with Duke. The Blue Devils will play Michigan State on Friday night in the Midwest Regional semifinals in Indianapolis.

Collins, who has never been a head coach, interviewed last year for the job at Illinois State — his father's alma mater — before withdrawing, saying it wasn't the right fit. The Redbirds ultimately hired Dan Muller from Vanderbilt's staff.

"I know Chris is very, very excited," Doug Collins said. "It will be a tremendous thing for him. ... I know that Northwestern is committed to putting a good basketball team on the court."

The younger Collins is taking over a program that raised the bar in recent years, but couldn't quite reach the NCAA tournament.

Carmody ranks among the most successful coaches at Northwestern with a 192-210 record, and the Wildcats were usually able to hang with more talented teams because of their Princeton offense even if they came up short.

The lack of an NCAA berth ultimately did him in. The switch comes after a particularly difficult season that was marked by season-ending injuries to key players Drew Crawford and Jared Swopshire along with guard JerShon Cobb's yearlong suspension for violating team rules. The Wildcats lost their final nine games to finish 13-19 and missed the postseason after four straight NIT appearances, an unprecedented run for the program.

Besides the tough academic standards at Northwestern, the Wildcats play in Welsh-Ryan Arena, by far the smallest in the Big Ten with a capacity of just over 8,100. It's something Carmody pointed out after the season-ending loss to Iowa in the Big Ten tournament.

Northwestern has unveiled plans for a complex that includes new lakefront facilities for the football team, a multipurpose indoor facility that seats 2,500, a diving well adjacent to the existing swimming pool and an outdoor practice field for varsity and club sports along with intramurals. New locker rooms, weight rooms, sports medicine facilities, meeting rooms and offices are also part of the plan, along with a new parking structure. There are no concrete plans to renovate the arena.

Collins, however, has managed to help recruit players to a school with an old arena and strict academic standards. Of course, Duke also has that great tradition, something Northwestern lacks.

Now, Collins will try to accomplish what Pat Fitzgerald has with the football team and build a competitive program despite the obstacles in place.

"They'll get a great coach. He's been a great coach here," Krzyzewski said before the hiring. "My guys are terrific, and he's been with me for over a decade and he's been terrific — not good. He's got a great basketball mind, competitive personality, team guy, a great guy. But he's a great basketball guy, too. And anybody who would get one of my guys would be getting somebody pretty special."

Collins is the second Krzyzewski assistant in five years to earn his first head coaching job at a private, academically elite school in a major conference: Johnny Dawkins left the Duke staff to take the top job at Stanford in 2008.


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