I can't resist.
Follow the bouncing ball and see how Les Miles and LSU connect with the late Bo Schembechler and Michigan, then to Illiniboard.com and Peoriaman, Obelixo, Chieftan13 and Illini82.
This is going to be fun.
Despite all of his success at LSU, coach Les Miles is feeling the heat from members of the Louisiana media because he said at a recent press conference that every media outlet that covers LSU football should only report positive stories on their "home team" and only disseminate information that he chooses to share.
It reminded me of the last time I encountered Miles. He was on Schembechler's staff at Michigan. At the Sun-Times All-Area dinner, Bo told me the names of five Chicago area players that Michigan was recruiting and added that normally he only targeted one or two, that the Chicago area usually didn't produce any more players who could play at Michigan. When the story was printed, Schembechler and Miles, who recruited the city and suburbs, went ballistic.
Now the Illini Nation is pulling a Les Miles over reaction by some Chicago Public League basketball coaches over the hiring of Jerrance Howard as Illinois' new assistant coach.
There is a segment of coaches in the Public League who have serious questions about Howard. It's a legitimate story. Illini Nation may not agree with it. But a reporter who covers both sides of the street has to deal with it. And I'm sure Howard will, too.
Negative reporting, they say.
Mud throwing, they say.
Anonymous sources, they say. Why doesn't anyone have to stand up and say who they are when they make comments like this? they say.
Thank you very much, Illinialways, Hopeeternal, Illiniptown and FightingIllinifan and all you other nameless Illiniboard.com contributers.
I only wish those folks would learn some history (do any of them know who David Dodds Henry was and why he is so important to the history of Illinois sports?) and get their facts straight, instead of tossing spitballs across cyberspace. For the most part, their lack of historical knowledge and perspective about the Illinois sports programs is embarrassing. And amusing.
Yes, I'm an Illinois graduate. Class of 1962. LAS-English. I was sports editor of the Daily Illini as a junior and senior and covered Illinois sports (during the Dick Butkus era) for four years after graduation for the old Champaign-Urbana Courier.
And I'm as loyal as anyone else who bleeds Orange & Blue and hopes the football and basketball teams, in particular, will someday rank among the top 10 in the nation on a consistent basis. I was inducted into the the first class of the Illini Media Hall of Fame last year and I donate annually to the University of Illinois Foundation, LAS, the library, Illini Media Company and the Illinois Alumni Association. I have a paving stone (with my mother, class of 1939) on the east side of the Campbell Center.
But I'm not an unabashed cheerleader. I'm an objective journalist. You don't get inducted into the Chicago Journalism Hall of Fame for being a cheerleader.
Did you expect to read any critical remarks in the News-Gazette or Decatur Herald & Review about the Jerrance Howard hiring, from people who author books with Illinois coaches?
Is it the job of Chicago Public League coaches--or coaches anywhere, for that matter--to send players to Illinois?
Illinois hater? Only a fool would make a remark like that. Anonymously, of course. I wrote long and hard in defense of Deon Thomas in his fight with the NCAA and gave a deposition to his lawyers on his behalf. But when confronted with evidence that Efrem Winters' grades were changed to allow him to qualify for a scholarship to Illinois, I printed the facts and was vilified by Illinois fans but was proven correct by a Chicago Board of Education investigation.
I'll stand by my record.
I only wish Illinois could stand by its record.