CHARLESTON, Ill. - Eastern Illinois officially introduced Tom Michael as it's new athletic director Tuesday afternoon. Michael has spent the last 18 years working at the University of Illinois - most recently as senior associate AD, overseeing the State Farm Center renovation project. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more on an emotional day for Michael as he takes the next step in his career.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois football program is mourning the loss of one of it's own. Former Illinois offensive lineman Shawn Afryl died suddenly Monday night after he collapsed during a workout, while getting ready for his senior season at Winona State University in Minnesota. Afryl was a member of the Illinois football team for three years, but he graduated early and planned to use the remainder of his eligibility at Winona State.
Eureka standout golfer Trevor Gold has committed to play golf at Illinois. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more.
Incoming Illinois freshman golfer Nick Hardy has already played on some of amateur golf's biggest stages, now he's looking to leave his mark with the Illini this fall.
After playing professional basketball for three seasons in Paris, France, former Illinois basketball standout and Centennial alum Trent Meacham is looking for a new place to play in Europe next year.
Illinois junior-to-be Tyler Jay is one of 24 players on the USA national collegiate team this summer. Jay was one of four pitchers to help the United States no-hit the Netherlands earlier this summer.
ROCKFORD, Ill. - Former Illinois kicker Derek Dimke is hoping the third time is a charm when it comes to landing on an NFL team. Dimke will camp with the New Orleans Saints next week after getting cut each of the last two years. After a standout career at Illinois, Dimke says he is a little more relaxed this time around. Last year he tried out with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Before that, the Detroit Lions - but he has yet to make the team. He says he will go in relaxed and confident with the Saints.
WHEATON, Ill. - Illinois incoming freshman Nick Hardy shot back-to-back rounds of 66 and 69 Thursday afternoon before losing a four-hole playoff and a chance at an Illinois State Amateur Championship. Hardy gave Iowa sophomore Ray Knoll all he could handle before Knoll prevailed on the fourth hole of a sudden death playoff. Hardy (-7) takes runner-up at the State Am.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois basketball will add EIU-transfer Alex Austin as a walk-on, Austin confirmed to WCIA 3. Austin played two seasons at Eastern Illinois before announcing he would transfer elsewhere. The Mt. Carmel grad averaged 7.0 ppg as a sophomore last season at EIU. That's a decrease from his 9.3 ppg average as a freshman. Austin will have to sit out this season, due to NCAA transfer rules, and then he will have two years of eligibility remaining.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) – University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced the hiring of Tom Brattan as offensive line coach on Thursday. Brattan joins the Fighting Illini staff after spending the last 13 years as offensive line coach at Maryland, and he also spent time at Stanford and Northwestern.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois junior Josh Ferguson was named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award Thursday. The award is given each year to the nation's top college running back. Ferguson led the Illini ground attack last year with about 65 yards per game and 11 touchdowns. He also had nearly 45 yards a game receiving, which was second most of any running back in the nation. Ferguson is one of eight Big Ten backs and 53 players nationwide to make the watch list.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - It didn't take long for Illinois to find its new offensive line coach. Exactly one week after AJ Ricker left for Missouri, a source close to the program confirmed to WCIA 3 that Tim Beckman has hired former Maryland offensive line coach Tom Brattan to replace him. Brattan spent 13 years coaching the offensive line at Maryland, but he wasn't retained after last season. In his time with the Terrapins, Brattan was responsible for recruiting the state of Illinois. The Delaware native has also spent some time as an assistant at Stanford and Northwestern. Brattan has 37 years of coaching experience in all. An official announcement is expected in the coming days.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois baseball coach Dan Hartleb has a valuable position to fill on his staff with the news that associate head coach Eric Snider has taken a job at Louisville. The Cardinals announced Tuesday that Snider will become their new hitting coach and recruiting coordinator.
CHARLESTON, Ill. - Eastern Illinois University is staying local with its athletic director position. EIU announced Monday Illinois senior associate athletic director Tom Michael will be the Panthers' new AD. Michael will be introduced at EIU July 22. His first day on the job will be August 11. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has the story.
A web exclusive interview with new Eastern Illinois University Athletic Director Tom Michael.
SAVOY, Ill. - Former Illinois basketball star Kendall Gill was back in town Monday for his 25th annual golf outing to benefit Cunningham Children's Home. The event has been a hit every year since Gill graduated from the U of I more than two decades ago, and he never misses an opportunity to come back. "Cunningham Children's Home is definitely the beneficiary of everything we do," Gill said. "And we're just glad to bring attention to their cause and what they're trying to do."
CHARLESTON, Ill. - Eastern Illinois University made official Monday the hiring of Tom Michael as its new athletic director. WCIA 3 first broke the news Sunday night, and now EIU will introduce Michael as its new AD next week.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Two Illini were named to national watch lists Monday. Junior Mason Monheim was named to the watch list for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation's best linebacker. The award is named after Illinois legend Dick Butkus. Monheim, who is a former freshman All-American was ninth in the Big Ten with 8.1 tackles per game, including 6.5 tackles for loss, last year. Meanwhile senior Matt LaCosse was named to the College Football Performance Awards tight end watch list. LaCosse caught 20 passes for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns last season.
A source confirmed to WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten Sunday that Eastern Illinois has reached an agreement with Illini Senior Associate Athletics Director Tom Michael to be the Panthers' new Athletic Director.
Huff Hall, the home to Illini volleyball, got some big upgrades. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns takes an inside look.
Former Illini Steve Stricker shot a third round 64 (-7) to get to -16 at the John Deere Classic. He trails Brian Harman by one shot entering Sunday's final round. Former Illini Scott Langley is -9 while Luke Guthrie is -6.
SILVIS, Ill. - Former Illini Steve Stricker fired a first round 68 (-3) at the John Deere Classic Thursday afternoon. Stricker is five shots off the lead held by a trio of golfers Zach Johnson, Rory Sabbatini and Brian Harman. Fellow Illinoi
CHICAGO, Ill. - A committee of trustees presented a plan Thursday that would give Illinois men's basketball coach John Groce a raise and contract extension, and all it needs is approval by the full Board of Trustees later this month. The Governance, Personnel and Ethics committee met Thursday in Chicago and recommended rewarding Groce with a $100,000 raise and a one-year contract extension. The raise would bring his salary to $1.7 million, and the extension would keep him under contract through the 2018-2019 season. This is already the second raise and extension Groce has received in his two years at Illinois. He has one NCAA Tournament appearance and one NIT berth so far at Illinois. The full Board of Trustees will meet July 24 to approve the raise and extension.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - We are less than a month away from the start of fall camp, and Tim Beckman is now searching for a new offensive line coach. That's because A.J. Ricker is leaving the U of I to accept the same position at Missouri.
SILVIS, Ill. - The John Deere Classic has been a home away from home for Steve Stricker. The former Illini star has won three times, and even when he cut his schedule back he always makes sure he plays in the quad cities. He hardly needs an introduction, and he only needs a couple hours to drive from his home to TPC Deere Run. The only thing Stricker needs is a win at one of his favorite tournaments. It has been three years since the end of this three-peat.
SILVIS, Ill. - The John Deere Classic has not been kind to D.A. Points over the years. In fact the former Illini star has made the cut just once in his eight career appearances there. The Pekin-native has plenty of motivation to change that this year. Points is coming off a career year last year where he earned more than $2.5 million. This year, though, has been disappointing. Points has only made nine cuts in his 22 tournaments, but he is hoping the John Deere Classic will be a springboard to a strong finish.
Update: 10:23 pm, 7/8/14, Tuesday CENTRAL ILLINOIS -- The University of Illinois men's basketball team could find a home away from home.
SILVIS, Ill. - It will be a loaded field for the Illini at the John Deere Classic this weekend in the Quad Cities. Four former Illini players will be in the field, including Luke Guthrie, who is still looking for his first PGA Tour win. Guthrie was out on the course Tuesday trying to get things ironed out. In face he stopped in Champaign Monday to work with head coach Mike Small. The two worked on Guthrie's swing, and he is hoping he has things figured out heading into Thursday's first round.
CHARLESTON, Ill. - One of the top athletic officials at Illinois, Tom Michael, interviewed on campus Tuesday for the athletic director job at Eastern Illinois. Michael is one of three finalists for the Panthers' AD job, and WCIA 3's Bret Beherns was in Charleston as Michael laid out his vision for EIU.
SILVIS, Ill. - A lot has changed for Scott Langley over the last year. He is married, they're expecting a child, and he is having his best season on the PGA Tour. "I don't react to bad shots the same as I used to," Langley said. "I used to hit a bad shot, and I'd freak out. What happened? How do I fix it? Instead now I just move on and just forget about it and try and hit a good shot the next time, and I think that's a little better way to play."
Illinois junior V'Angelo Bentley is one of 47 players nationwide named to the watch list for Paul Hornung Award, which is given each year to the nation's most versatile player.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's basketball team will have to move as many as five home basketball games away from State Farm Center in November 2015 because of construction on the arena. A U of I spokesman said Monday the athletic department has known for quite some time that the arena wouldn't be available for the beginning of the year.
2015 Illini basketball commit Aaron Jordan is up to 6'5" and 185 pounds. He's adding strength in the weight room this summer while also working hard on his game.
Former Illini baseball player Thomas Lindauer is embracing a chance to start his minor league career near his home of Moline, Illinois.
The Illinois men's basketball team has plenty of guards this season. Eight players are listed as guards on the roster, giving Illini head coach John Groce plenty to work with.
Former Illinois soccer standout Vanessa DiBernardo is finding her role with the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women's Soccer League.
Illinois senior point guard Tracy Abrams is using last year's adversity to fuel his workouts this summer.
Former Illinois softball players Danielle Zymkowitz and Alex Booker are living out their professional dreams, playing for the Chicago Bandits in the NPF.
Illinois guard Kendrick Nunn is still not 100% after knee surgery more than two months ago. The sophomore is expected to be a full participant in practice next week.
Illinois sophomore Malcolm Hill is making big gains on and off the court this summer. The Belleville native has gained 21 pounds as he tries to take his game and body to the next level.
Illinois sophomore Sarah Livingston is leaving the women's basketball program after one season with the Illini. The Morton native is heading to the University of Southern California to play volleyball.
Illinois freshmen basketball players Leron Black and Michael Finke are adjusting to life as college basketball players.
Illinois basketball recruit Aaron Jordan is working hard this summer on his game and in the weight room. The 2015 shooting guard is looking to gain weight by lifting with football players.
The Illinois golf program's ten-year plan for an outdoor practice facility is finally coming together. The facility will be state of the art and used to help recruit players from around the country. "We need this," said Illinois men's golf head coach Mike Small. "The other teams in the Big Ten all have these things and other teams in the country do. We have a great indoor facility. We need a great outdoor facility." The Lauritsen/Wohlers Outdoor Practice Facility will sit adjacent to the Demirjian Indoor Practice Building. It will give the Illinois golf team the ability to practice any type of golf shot year-round. The facility was designed by former Illini and PGA professional Steve Stricker and Small and it was inspired by the Augusta National Golf Club practice facility. "Now we finally have some great donors and supporters to help us do this," Small said. "It's going to help transform the south part of campus." The facility is scheduled to open in the Fall.
Illinois Senior Associate Athletic Director Tom Michael is one of three finalists for the Eastern Illinois Athletic Director job.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Former Illinois women's track and field athlete Gia Lewis-Smallwood (1998-01) won her second straight national discus title at the USA Track and Field Outdoor Championships on Sunday. The Champaign, Illinois, native won her second straight national title in record form, throwing a mark of 216-5 (65.96m) at Sacramento State’s Hornet Stadium. The throw was six meters farther than the competition and is a new meet and facility record. “It was a great, dominating performance for Gia,” said event coach Mike Turk. “She amazes me with her continuing dedication and work ethic.” Lewis-Smallwood won her first national title at last year’s USATF Outdoor Championships after breaking the Drake Stadium record of 213-8 (65.13m). Discus Final at USATF Outdoor Championships (Top three of 17) 1. Gia Lewis-Smallwood, Nike - 216-5 (65.96m) 2. Liz Podominick, Unt. - 196-9 (59.96m) 3. Shelbi Vaughan, Texas A&M - 196-0 (59.75m)
Former Illinois basketball standout Meyers Leonard is spending the summer working on his game, trying to become a full-time player with Portland TrailBlazers.
Illini sophomore offensive lineman and president of the Illinois chapter of Uplifting Athletes led the third annual Lift for Life fundraiser at Memorial Stadium Friday night. The Illini raised more than $7,500 for acoustic neuroma, supporting former Illinois football player Andrew Carter, who was diagnosed with the condition in 2011.
The Illinois football team worked out under the lights at Memorial Stadium Friday night to raise money for Acoustic Neuroma. The event was hosted by the Illini chapter of Uplifting Athletes, an organization that raises money and awareness for rare diseases.
Former Illinois basketball standout Meyers Leonard is back in his hometown of Robinson this week to host a youth clinic.