Voice of Season

13soillsum_2554lI’m accustomed to seeing coaches successfully communicate with Special Olympics athletes.

I’ve run the Summer Games soccer venue for 12 years now, and I’ve witnessed the full array of responses from athletes, both to coaches and officials. What I saw this past weekend, however, was one of the best pre-game speeches I’ve ever witnessed.

A 70+ year old coach sat down a group of competitors likely ranging from 25-59, and explained the tactics of the upcoming game.

He talked about who would be playing in goal, and congratulated him on his play the day before, a game that went through two overtime periods and ended in victory in a penalty-kick shootout.

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13bbmvc_03I’ve been following this possibility for a couple weeks, and yesterday it happened.

Gene Stephenson, the long-time coach that started the baseball program at Wichita State University and brought the program to prominence on a national scale, was fired yesterday by athletic director Eric Sexton.

It was apparent at the Missouri Valley Conference baseball tournament here a few weeks ago that something was in the works. Sexton was around for some of the tournament, but even congratulating Stephenson after a victory against Indiana State, the disconnect between the two was obvious.

How do you fire a future Hall of Fame coach, one that has the second most victories of any active Division I baseball coach?

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13bbiwuvnc01As the ending of baseball games go, this was unique.

Trailing 9-5 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, local favorite Illinois Wesleyan University mounted an improbable rally against North Central College that led to one of the more bizarre endings to a baseball game I’ve ever witnessed.

Enter Matt “the Cat” Adams. The long-time “assistant director of baseball operations” at Illinois Wesleyan, as he is referred to by public address announcer Ed Moore, Matt has been known to put an occasional hex on an opposing pitcher.

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13mbbiwuvaug_0374lI sat on this one for a week or two, but it’s an interesting story to accompany the photos.

On his annual visit to Illinois Wesleyan, Augustana basketball coach Grey Giovanine was his usual volatile self, whining for every call. But he sunk to a new low this year. A little verbal jockeying towards IWU’s Victor Davis early in the game was met with a response by the player.

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