Who is the longest-tenured coach at his Big Ten school? It’s Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, who is entering his 14th season in Iowa City. And as he embarks on another spring practice, he faces a unique set of challenges he never before has encountered. Chief among the challenges is developing chemistry on a coaching staff that long has been a beacon of stability but has been shaken up like never before on Ferentz’s watch. On top of the staff overhaul, Ferentz also has some key personnel issues to deal with this spring. I caught up with the Iowa coach this week to discuss those issues—and others.
The New Orleans Saints’ official Twitter account (@Saints) released photos of the 2012 Final Four court and other scenes around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of this year’s Final Four. So, if you’re interested, get your first look at the court Ohio State will be playing on Saturday night. Spoiler alert: It’s in the same design as all the NCAA tourney courts, only it’s green — two shades of it — where those courts are black, and it features the Final Four logo at midcourt. See pictures in this post.
Lots buzzing around Big Ten football gridirons on this day, with Michigan State taking the wraps off its spring drills. And questions loom, as you’ll see in this post. I talked to Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald today, and he has some pretty passionate feelings about protecting the sanctity of the bowl experience for student-athletes. More to come from Fitz later. Here’s some interesting items that I came across today.
Let’s say you were running for Student Body President — how would you separate yourself from the competition, make yourself stand out? Whatever you came up with, Purdue’s Ishmael Aristide just topped you. The safety is going all “Old Spice” on Purdue’s campus to promote his presidency and QB Rob Henry’s vice presidency. Watch Aristide’s spot, plus Henry’s, in this post.
For most baseball games, the introduction of the starting line-up is unremarkable. But last Friday, Illinois freshman infielder Michael Hurwitz and senior pitcher Nick Chmielewski had a little fun on camera. The duo donned a couple of mustaches and got into character as they introduced the starting line-up for their game against Nebraska. Watch the entertaining video now and see another memorable lineup rendition from last season in this post. Which one is better? Cast your vote.
Former Maryland QB Danny O’Brien visited Penn State again Monday as the Nittany Lions opened spring practice and the Bill O’Brien era. Of much interest, O’Brien, who also was in State College, Pa., a week ago, donned a Penn State jacket. What does this mean for the transfer who’s also visited Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Wisconsin? Perhaps nothing more than it was cool and O’Brien needed another layer. See a picture of O’Brien and a relevant tweet in this post.
March 26, 2005, forever will hold a special place in Illinois men’s basketball fans’ hearts. It was on this day, after all, that the top-ranked Illini pulled off one of the more memorable comebacks in NCAA tourney history (AP recap). Down 15 points with four minutes left in the Chicago Regional final against No. 3 seed Arizona, Illinois rallied all the way back to force overtime, where it carded an unforgettable 90-89 victory. Watch a video of the unbelievable comeback in this post.