New University of Illinois women's basketball coach Jolette Law is already starting to make headlines in Champaign-Urbana, where this past week she began to fill out her assistant coach positions. Karen Middleton, Tamika Louis, and Patrick Klein were announced on Thursday as recent hires. Middleton comes from Stanford University, where she served as a Lady Cardinal assistant for 10 years. Louis brings with her some collegiate head coaching experience, having coached at Mott Community College in Flint, Michigan for 3 years from 2002-2005. Louis, in addition to coaching, has worked for the past 8 years at General Motors. Klein, who was an assistant at Ohio State under Jim Foster, also owns his own consulting business, PB & J Associates. This venture develops leadership workshops for high school student organizations. Law hopes to hire about 3 more coaches to fill out her staff and at the present time, does not intend on retaining any of Theresa Grentz's staff. So what does this all mean, you ask? I'm not really sure what to make of this right now, but in due time, we should begin to get some answers. Personally, I would retain at least one of the old regime, just to keep some continuity in the program. That hire would likely be Marcia Frese, who served as Grentz's Associate Head Coach. Frese also is a good recruiter and her sister, Brenda, recently won a national title at Maryland. Given Laws' comments at her introductory press conference, she has visions of moving the Illinois women's program to that next level. But, haven't we heard that statement before? I would welcome your comments to this topic.
Junior tennis player Kevin Anderson and senior track and field superstar Yvonne Mensah have been named the Dike Eddleman Award winners for 2006-07, as the best athletes in men's and women's sports. Anderson was an integral part of the Illini tennis team advancing to the title game this year, and in addition to helping the team achieve success, made quite an impression in the singles and doubles draws as well. Anderson reached the semifinals in singles, and teaming up with Ryan Rowe in doubles, reached the finals before losing. Anderson was the Illini's #1 ranked player, and has been consistently in the top 10 nationally all season. Mensah, who also was a catalyst in her team's run through the Big Ten outdoor championships, won 4 titles (100 meters, 200 meters, triple jump, 4 X 100 meter relay) and was on the 4 X 400 meter relay team that finished as runner-up in conference play. Mensah also excelled indoors as well, winning the long and triple jump events. You should definitely see her make a run for Beijing in 2008.
It's not too early to think about Fighting Illini football, and with the opener in St. Louis just less than 3 months away, Coach Ron Zook will be hosting his 3rd Annual Women's Football Clinic on Saturday, June 23 at Memorial Stadium. Sorry men, you are not allowed to be at this clinic, only the ladies! The event, which takes place from noon until 5, is a chance for the ladies to meet the coaching staff, get up close to the equipment, and even go through drills. Plus, there is a chance that you may get to butt heads with an assistant (literally!!), as past camps have experienced. For more information, please direct your browser to http://www.fightingillini.com/ and click on the football page. Registration information will be there waiting for you. By the way, the game time with Missouri in the State Farm Arch Rivalry has been set for 2:30 pm CT and will be televised by ESPN2. Again, I welcome your comments, one and all, about anything and everything Illini!