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.
ST. JOSEPH -- Friday night lights will be a little brighter this fall.
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.
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.
Fisher's Miranda Marry signed with Illinois to run track next year. Marry is a six-time state medalist and she also holds six school records.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - As district administrators try to pick the best location for Central's new high school, Central athletic director John Woods knows exactly which one he prefers. Woods says the Interstate site will be far better than the Spalding Park site when it comes to the future of the school and its extracurricular activities.
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.
The Danville Dans beat the Terre Haute Rex 5-2 at Bob Warn Field in Propsect League action Friday night.
Former Illinois basketball standout Meyers Leonard is back in his hometown of Robinson this week to host a youth clinic.
The Illinois men's basketball team spent the last four days training with former Navy SEALs, learning about teamwork, communication and leadership.
Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman landed another in-state 2015 recruit Wednesday. Hales Franciscan senior-to-be Patrick Nelson verbally committed to play for the Illini via his twitter account. Nelson is a three-star safety.
Illinois golfer Alex Burge is using the summer to improve his game. The senior-to-be won the U of I Open in Savoy last weekend.
Illinois golf coach Mike Small just missed qualifying for his sixth straight PGA Championship, finishing T-22 at the PGA Professional National Championship in South Carolina Wednesday.
After two years at Parkland College, Lyle Burns is ready to join his Mahomet-Seymour High School teammates on the Bradley golf team this fall.
Monticello quarterback Brandon Wildman is working hard during the off-season to help the Sages in the fall. He's been competing at camps and is catching the eye of college coaches.
SJO's Hunter Hart changed his college commitment. He won't be going to Indiana University in the fall. He has now signed with Kaskaskia Junior College. Hart is still considering going pro after being drafted by the Baltimore Orioles. The O's are waiting for him to get healthy before making him an offer. Hart is working his way back from an April knee injury. He has until July 18 to make a decision.
Eastern Illinois continues to narrow the search for a new Athletic Director. Bob Martin, the head of the search committee said they plan on being down to three candidates by Wednesday.
Scores and highlights from the final round of the U of I Open.
U of I Open scores and highlights after the first of two rounds.
One of the biggest local golf events of the summer is happening this weekend in our town Savoy. It's the U of I Open. Corbin Sebens is trying to take home the crown after a pair of runner up finishes. WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten has more.
The Champaign Central girls basketball team is looking for a new head coach. Martin Pizanin is taking the girls basketball head coaching job at IVC. He was 31-25 in two seasons at Central.
CHICAGO - No matter how far away basketball takes Dee Brown, he's always wearing his orange and blue. He keeps close tabs on the Illini - watching them on TV any chance he gets. As we finish our three-part series in-depth with Dee, he talks recruiting, his relationship with John Groce, and his dream of one day coaching at Illinois.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Some of the University of Illinois' all-time great basketball players are on board with the U of I's plan to try to land the IHSA boys and girls state basketball tournaments beginning in 2016. Players from the 1988-89 Flyin' Illini, a team made up of exclusively in-state players, have been some of the most outspoken advocates for bringing the tournament back to State Farm Center.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - If Champaign-Urbana wants to bring the IHSA state basketball tournament back to State Farm Center, it won't be easy. And it will have to be a joint effort between the local tourism departments, business leaders and most importantly the University of Illinois. The three entities will form a committee later this summer to consider bidding on both the boys and girls state finals. They will bid on at least one.
CHICAGO, Ill. - For the last decade Dee Brown has put together a successful basketball career - both in the NBA and overseas - but its what he does off the court that makes him just as proud.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The City of Champaign and the University of Illinois will work together to bring the IHSA state basketball tournament back to Champaign. The IHSA opened up the bidding Monday for the tournaments beginning with the 2015-16 season and running through the 2019-20 season. Jayne DeLuce, President and CEO of Visit Champaign County, says they're considering bidding on both the boys and girls tournaments, but will definitely bid on at least one. The U of I hosted the boys state tournament for 77 years before losing it to Peoria after the 1995 season. It has been in Peoria ever since.
CHICAGO - After seven seasons overseas playing in six different countries, former Illinois star Dee Brown is now a free agent waiting to find out which team will sign him for next season. "I moved back to Chicago maybe three weeks ago," Brown said. "Just been working out, getting ready for next season. The process in the summer is you're just working out, staying healthy, staying sharp on your game. Waiting for your agent to shop you around. For me it's always tough because you never know where you're going to end up."