Of Tom Jorgensen Men's Cage Era Return For Northern Illinois University
--- The Boys of Jorgy. Yes, they were the darlings of the Northern
Illinois University Baby Boomer set circa 1966-73. The good, old
days on campus, well, were good and, egad, a while ago.
Back in the
day, Huskie basketball fans all wore We Love Jorgy buttons.
Those red and black buttons might be collectors items now,
but the people who attended the reunion didnt need them to
express their feelings.
the memories, the laughs, etc., all came back this past weekend
(June 3-4) at the Jorgensen Reunion in the DeKalb-Sycamore area.
Back in the region for the National Basketball Association Pre-Draft
Camp in Chicago, the time was perfect for the now 70-year-old, but
younger looking Jorgensen to see his former players, assistants,
Reunions occurred in 1988, 1997, and 2002. The next one is slated
The Jorgy group
toured the new $37-million NIU Convocation Center, were greeted
by current Northern Illinois head coach Rob Judson, golfed at River
Heights in DeKalb, and met for dinner at a local restaurant (Johnnys
Charhouse in Sycamore) on Saturday. Several members of the entourage
talked to Northern Illinois sports information director emeritus
Bud Nangle in San Diego, CA, via cell phone. As the cliche goes,
a good Cardinal and Black time was had by all. Approximately 30
ex-Huskies---including guests, wives, friends---attended the dinner.
coach Tom Jorgensen, now a scout with the NBA Orlando Magic, took
the mens basketball Huskies from the cornfields and into the
nations major-college Top 20 back in those halcyon Chick Evans
Field House days. Jorgy coached Northern Illinois for seven seasons
and produced a 95-71 won-lost record in that time frame---including
the 21-4 and 17-8 campaigns in 1971-72 and 1972-73, respectively.
He was inducted into the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998.
of Jorgensens tenure, of course, was the widely acclaimed
21-4 NIU Athletics Hall of Fame quintet that defeated No. 5-ranked
Indiana (85-71) and crashed the Associated Press Top 20 (No. 18)
that winter. That Northern Illinois quintet averaged 95.2 points-per-game,
ultimately featured four professional draft picks (forward-center
Jim Bradley, guard Billy The Kid Harris, guard Larry
Jackson, and forward Jerry Z Zielinski), and made the
NIU Hall of Fame in 1987.
lives in the Denver area. Emory Luck, former assistant and Jorgys
successor as head coach, flew in from Fresno, CA. Keith Peterson,
a former Northern Star sports editor and NIU sports information
student worker, jetted in from Washington, DC.
to Jorgensen, six other individual members of the NIU Hall of Fame
attended the reunion----players Willie Hanson, Gordon Doc
Nuber, Jim Smith, and Zielinski, plus Al Kranz (head trainer) and
Mike Korcek (sports information director). Luck, Rohlman, and Finucane
are Hall of Famers by virtue of their contributions to the aforementioned
(from left): Keith Peterson (sports information, Northern Star),
Al Kranz (head trainer), Cliff Fulton (assistant coach), Tom Jorgensen
(head coach), Emory Luck (assistant coach and later head coach),
Don Russell, and Bill Finucane (manager).
(from left): Mike Korcek (sports information, Northern Star),
Nate Mason, Bill Blaisdell, Willie Hanson, Jack Kilmartin, and Aubrey
(from left): Gordon "Doc" Nuber, Tom Miller, Art Rohlman,
Ike Johnson, Larry Turner, Jim Smith, Jerry Zielinski, and Jesse
but unable to make "team" picture: Tim Bryant, Bruce
Janus, Bob Taylor, and Mike Taylor