NIUHuskies.com, the official online home for Northern Illinois Athletics, is pleased to announce the launch of a new web-based blog, "Huskie Happenings." The section includes links to a daily newsstand, online chats, feature stories and interviews, game-day and multimedia information, promotions, calendars and much more. We hope this will become your first and last stop everyday for all the information you crave about Huskie Athletics.
The "Huskie Happenings" addition will be more interactive with visitors of NIUHuskies.com. For that to work, this must be a a two-way street, or even one of those really confusing five-way stoplights. That means we need to hear from you. I know you're out there, Mr. or Ms. Fan Who Wants to Be Heard. So step up, and e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the three years I've spent in Illinois, I've learned to identify spring in two ways: when the piles of snow in the local parking lots that were once 15 feet tall dwindle to nothing, and, perhaps more reliably, by the start of spring football.
The Huskies welcomed spring with a 7 a.m. practice, which John Sahly writes about here in today's Daily Chronicle. John also has an in-depth plan of attack for covering the spring season. Don't forget your accompanying spring roster. Stay tuned for the NIUHuskies.com wrap-up of opening day.
Jerry Kill and his staff put the Huskies through their paces in the first workout of spring practice. Tuesday was the first of 15 practices scheduled over the next five weeks at Huskie Stadium, culminating in the Spring Football Preview, April 25, 2009 at 1 p.m.
The Huskies had to dodge the raindrops at times, with periodic showers taking place throughout practice, but it didn't dampen their spirits. NIU worked on everything from team scrimmages to individual drills. Tuesday's practice was the first taste of life as a Huskie for defensive linemen Kyle Jenkins, defensive backs Chris and Donald Smith, twins from Palmetto, Fla., and punter Josh Wilber. All four were part of the 2009 signing class that arrived this semester. They will each work out with the Huskies throughout the spring. Stay tuned to Huskie Happenings later this afternoon for the Huskies' complete 2009 spring outlook. In the meantime, be sure to check out our friend John Sahly's Daily Chronicle recap.
1) First off, I hear that you're a White Sox fan. How did you become one?
Well, I was born on the south side. My dad and my older brother are Sox fans and I just adapted it from them.
2) What is your walk up song this year, and why did you pick it?
"Holler Back," by the Lost Trailers. It has a good beat.
3) What is a phrase you live by?
Say your prayers and take your vitamins, and you will never go wrong.
Check out the entire interview by Clicking Here.
Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Jeff Compher answered questions both football related and not in his chat with Huskie fans last week. In case you missed it, there were some great ideas exchanged and questions answered between the NIU faithful and the new leader of the athletic department, including thoughts of basketball tailgating, and the 2009 football schedule.
After leading Northern Illinois to a third-place finish at the Mid-American Conference Championships last weekend and sharing the individual title on the balance beam, Northern Illinois gymnasts Holly Reichard and Jennifer Naughton learned Monday that they are headed to the NCAA South Central Regional.
Reichard will compete in the all-around for the second straight season while Naughton earned the nod on the balance beam after being named as an alternate on beam in each of the last two years. The competition is scheduled for 6 p.m. (CDT) on Saturday, April 4 in Fayetteville, Ark.
Said NIU head gymnastics coach Mark Sontag: "What else can I say about Holly and Jen? They've just performed brilliantly, time after time after time. I can't think of two more deserving individuals to be representing Northern Illinois at regionals." Get the full story here.
For the third time this season, a Northern Illinois baseball player was selected for a Mid-American Conference weekly award, as junior Jordin Hood earned MAC West Division Player of the Week honors for his outstanding performance in this past weekend's three-game sweep of Buffalo. You can read more about Hood's weekend here, and check out the Daily Chronicle's story on the Huskies' 3-0 weekend.
While the 2008-09 Mid-American Conference women's basketball season continues to march on following Ball State's upset of Tennessee in the first-round of the NCAA Tournament, the MAC men's basketball campaign is officially over. The league office distributed the final conference statistics Monday, and there were some interesting NIU tie-ins.
The Huskies finished in the top-five of the MAC in nine individual categories, including ranking second overall in both steals per game (7.97) and offensive rebounds (12.77 rpg). NIU's 66.2 points per game were third-best in the MAC, but the Huskies finished either 11th or 12th in each defensive category, including scoring defense and defensive field goal percentage.
Individually, sophomore guard Darion "Jake" Anderson finished the season ranked fourth in the MAC in scoring (16.9 ppg), 12th in rebounding (5.4 rpg), 15th in both assists (2.41 apg) and free throw percentage (.672), seventh in steals per game (1.59), eighth in three-point field goal percentage (.371), 10th in both three-point field goals made per game (1.59) and defensive rebounds (4.17 rpg), and 11th in minutes played (31.52 mpg). We apologize for the long description, but for a great season like Anderson's sophomore campaign, a deep breath may be necessary.
Starting point guard Mike DiNunno finished the season leading all MAC freshmen in scoring (11.9 ppg), assists (2.63 apg), free throw percentage (.732), steals (1.47 spg), three-point field goals made per game (1.97) and minutes played (29.53 mpg). Sophomore center Sean Kowal, playing his first competitive basketball season since the 2006-07 campaign, ended the season leading the MAC in field goal percentage (.551).
Anderson Named Second-Team All-MAC; DiNunno Earns Spot on All-Freshman Team
Speaking of hoops, did everyone see that NIU men's basketball incoming freshman Tony Nixon helped lead South Holland Seton Academy to the Illinois Class 2A State Championship? The Seton Academy program is just six years old. In addition to Nixon's sharp-shooting ability, his experience as a "winner" will also be an added benefit, as NIU head coach Ricardo Patton enters his third year rebuilding the Huskie program.
Seton Academy, Meridian nab state championships (AP)
Chicago Whitney Young High School, the former playing home to both Huskie freshman Bryan Hall and NIU associate head coach Dennis Gates, also cut down the nets, capturing the Class 4A state championship game last Saturday at Carver Arena in Peoria, Ill. Gates also led the Dolphins to the 1998 state title prior to playing his college basketball at California.
Tristen DeShazer and Bryan Deutsch were each dealt their second loss in Friday's morning session of the NCAA Wrestling championships, ending the Huskies' run in the tournament. Northern Illinois finished with 9.5 points, the most of any team with two or fewer qualifiers, and just one-half point behind the 2007-08 total, when the Huskies brought three wrestlers to nationals.
Mike Buda talked to both wrestlers and head coach Dave Grant for his Northern Star wrap-up on the national tournament.