COLUMBIA, Mo. - It's not exactly a feud between Illinois and Missouri, but Tim Beckman did imply that the Tigers may have gone too far - in his words "stealing" offensive line coach A.J. Ricker away from Illinois with less than a month to go before the start of fall camp. Ricker is starting to settle in now as the new offensive line coach at Missouri. He told reporters Tuesday that Beckman offered him a raise to try to keep him from leaving, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity to return to his alma mater.
Illinois offensive coordinator joins WCIA 3 for a LIVE interview and defensive back V'Angelo Bentley stepping up as a defensive leader
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman isn't tipping his hand yet, but Wes Lunt appears to open camp as the favorite to land the starting job. The Oklahoma State transfer is coming off a solid spring and summer, and he couldn't wait to get on the field Monday knowing what's ahead. "It was fun," Lunt said. "We got to fly around. I was excited, and the offense played pretty well."
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The biggest problem for the Illinois football team on day 1 of practice had nothing to do with the players; it was actually the grass. Because of the unseasonably cool temperatures - the coldest July on record in Champaign-Urbana - the Bermuda grass on the practice fields east of Memorial Stadium were not completely ready. The result was slippery grass head coach Tim Beckman described as "a swamp," and divots all over the field. Beckman ended practice a few minutes early because of the damaged field, and he says the team will practice inside Memorial Stadium on the turf the rest of the week to keep the players safe.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois football team held it's first practice of the fall on Monday. Quarterback Wes Lunt talks about his first day of camp, and head coach Tim Beckman joins WCIA 3 for a LIVE interview
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- A big project kicked off Monday at UI.
Illini golfers Brian Campbell and Nick Hardy lost in the semifinals of the Western Amateur Championship. Campbell lost one down, hardy fell 4 & 3.
Illini golfers Nick Hardy and Brian Campbell are one win away from meeting in the finals of the Western Amateur Championship.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois football team will begin fall camp Monday, August 4th for a week of practices in Champaign that are closed to the public. They'll move to Rantoul August 11th, where they'll practice for six days with all practices being free and open to the public. CAMP RANTOUL SCHEDULE Mon., Aug. 11: 9:00 am, 5:30 pm Tue., Aug. 12: 4:15 pm Wed., Aug. 13: 9:00 am, 4:15 pm Thu., Aug. 14: 4:15 pm Fri., Aug. 15: 9:00 am, 4:15 pm Mon., Aug. 18: 10:45 am, 5:00 pm
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Four-star point guard Jimmy Whitt says he will visit Illinois this weekend, just a day after he listed the Illini among his final nine schools. The Columbia, Mo. (Hickman H.S.) standout is ranked among the Top 60 players in the country. He is also considering Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Marquette and others. There's a lot for Whitt to like about Illinois. They need a point guard in the 2015 class, and he also likes what he sees in John Groce and his system.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois LHP Tyler Jay had the opportunity of a lifetime this summer. He had the chance to play with the USA Collegiate National Team. And he didn't just play on the team; he was arguably USA's best pitcher. Jay led the team with 15 appearances. He went 2-0 with a perfect 0.00 era and 21 strikeouts in 16.2 IP. This was against countries like Japan, Cuba, Netherlands and Chinese Taipei. Jay will come back to the Illinois bullpen next spring, and head coach Dan Hartleb expects Jay to be better than ever.
BRISTOL, Conn. - Tim Beckman got the ESPN royal treatment on Wednesday. They call it the "Car Wash." Beckman spent most of the day at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol for a series of interviews across all of ESPN's platforms. That included stops on SportsCenter, College Football Live and in-depth interviews with ESPN's writers. It was all part of a two-day event where all 14 Big Ten coaches visit Bristol for ESPN's own media days.
COLUMBIA, Mo. - One of John Groce's top targets for the Class of 2015 narrowed his list of schools Wednesday, and Illinois made the cut. 4-star point guard Jimmy Whitt, from Hickman High School in Columbia, cut his list to nine. That list includes Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, SMU, Marquette, California, Arkansas and Kansas State. Whitt is listed at 6-3, 170 lbs and is ranked among the Top 60 players nationally.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois baseball team's newest assistant coach, Spencer Allen, was in town and on the job Monday. Allen has 12 years of coaching experience, including stints with Purdue, Washington State and most recently Creighton. He is known as a top-notch recruiter, and he is ready to hit the ground running.
CHICAGO - If Tim Beckman is feeling any pressure heading into year three at Illinois, he isn't showing it. The Illini head coach answered questions from the media Monday with confidence and a calm demeanor even after two losing season with the Orange and Blue.
CHICAGO - Tim Beckman wasn't ready to name a starting quarterback as he took the podium at Big Ten Media Day in Chicago Monday, and according to the head coach, it could be as many as four more weeks before Illini fans find out who will start the season opener August 30 against Youngstown State. Beckman told reporters he anticipates picking a starting quarterback by the end of two-a-days.
CHICAGO - Illinois has won just six games in Tim Beckman's first two years in Champaign-Urbana, and the Illini haven't played in a bowl game since 2011 - and senior Simon Cvijanovic has had enough. The offensive lineman will be leaned on to anchor a veteran group up front, but also mentor the next group of Illini players who are just beginning to make names for themselves. And Cvijanovic says the losing has to stop.
The Illinois football team opens practice in just over a week. It's an exciting time for offensive coordinator Bill Cubit. WCIA 3's Bret Beherns has more on Cubit and one of his biggest hobbies away from the field.
Former Illini and Central golf standout Clayton Parkhill won his record sixth Twin City golf championship Sunday. He shot -7 total in the 36 holes event. David Deschler was second at even par. Jay Scott took third at +1.
Former Illinois basketball player Brett Melton has spent the last few days giving back to his hometown. Melton was a standout player at Mahomet-Seymour in the late 90's. Bad ankles forced him to transfer after just two seasons with the Illini, but as our Bret Beherns shows us, Melton still bleeds orange and blue.
Danville Dans pitcher Cam Wysocki has one goal in life, to make you smile. Whether it's serving at the Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor or performing magic tricks in front of his teammates, Cam is constantly striving to make the world a better place, one smile at a time.
The University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and head baseball coach Dan Hartleb announced the hiring of Spencer Allen as an assistant coach on Friday. A 12-year coaching veteran, Allen comes to Illinois from Creighton University, where he served as associate head coach/recruiting coordinator for the past two seasons.
Illini assistant golf coach Justin Fetcho will be the head coach at Southern Illinois, a source confirmed Friday to WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten. Fetcho was at Illinois for two seasons. He helped lead the Illini to a fifth straight Big Ten Championship and a national runner-up finish in 2013. He is from Eldorado, Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Board of Trustees officially approved a contract extension and raise for men's basketball coach John Groce on Thursday. Groce gets a one-year extension that runs through the end of the 2018-2019 season, and a $100,000 raise that brings his total salary up to $1.7 million. This is the second extension and raise Groce has received in his two years at Illinois. He has a 43-28 overall record with the Illini, which includes one NCAA Tournament berth and one NIT appearance.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas announced Wednesday Warren Hood will replace Tom Michael as senior associate athletic director overseeing the State Farm Center renovation, after Michael was introduced Tuesday as athletic director at Eastern Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Tim Beckman had some strong words Wednesday when describing the process of hiring a new offensive line coach on short notice. His former offensive line coach A.J. Ricker left for Missouri earlier this month, less than four weeks before the start of fall camp. That forced Beckman to make a fast hire. He brought in Tom Brattan, who wasn't retained at Maryland after 13 years on the Terps' staff. Beckman says it was important to find a coach who was unemployed, rather than doing to another school what Missouri just did to him. SUCH SHORT NOTICE, AND SAID HE DIDN'T WANT TO DO TO ANOTHER SCHOOL WHAT MISSOURI JUST DID TO HIM.
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.