The recent change of heart by Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan on his decision to remain in Gainesville, rather than take the Orlando Magic head coaching job, has spawned some debate on the loyalty issue in college athletics. Within the last few years, several coaches have flirted with the idea, with some taking the plunge, only to re-surface a couple years later back in the college game. Names like John Calipari, Rick Pitino, and even a former Illini bench boss, Lon Kruger, have taken the plunge to the NBA for the larger paycheck. But, as history proves, they more than likely end back up in the college game sooner rather than later. The last Illini coach BW (Before Weber), Bill Self, has been rumored to be looking at this venture, but after all, his "dream job" was to coach at Kansas and have that office on Naismith Drive. As recently as this past summer, ex-Kentucky head man Tubby Smith was toying with the idea before taking the job at Minnesota. Some coaches have been much smarter with their choices, namely Tom Izzo, who has been more than once been linked to moving on to the next level, but instead has stayed at Michigan State, where he has built a successful program. So what's next you ask? I would be interested in hearing your comments on this subject.
Major League Baseball recently held their first-year player draft, and for the first time in the history of the draft, it was televised. The Fighting Illini had a couple of players drafted, as catcher Lars Davis went to the Colorado Rockies in the third round (102nd overall pick). Davis was the highest selected Illini backstop since Chris Robinson went in the third round in 2002 to the Detroit Tigers. Also selected from the Illini was shortstop Shawn Roof, who was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the 33rd round. Illini signee Casey Crosby was taken by the Tigers (hmmmm, I see a trend here) in the fifth round. Now, Crosby has the option of signing a pro contract, or honoring his letter of intent to attend Illinois and play for the Fighting Illini.
Looks like the 3-i n-1 tradition will continue after all during football season, even though the Chief will dance no more. The University announced on Monday that the Marching Illini will still perform the ritual, which in the past brought Chief Illiniwek out on the field. It will seem much different without the Chief dancing along, but all good things must eventually come to an end and there is little if anything that will change the University's mind on the subject now. I am open to comments that anyone has on this or any other subject Illini related.