It’s that time again – an evening watching Augustana’s men’s basketball team when they come to town for a conference clash with Illinois Wesleyan. This is always a great rivalry – Wesleyan is rated #25 in the country, and #6 Augustana started the season as the top-ranked team.
Perhaps, it’s more accurate to say I enjoy watching the visiting coach pace the sidelines as the teams battle. Continue Reading
The sport is women’s college basketball. And when you think about the women’s college game, names like Pat Summitt and Geno Auriemma come to mind.
Summitt has won eight NCAA championships. Along the way, she won three consecutive titles from 1996-1998.
Auriemma has also won three consecutive titles among his six overall, those coming in the 2002-2004 tournament years.
Kim Muhl has topped them both in consistency, winning his fourth consecutive national championship with Kirkwood Community College of Cedar Rapids, Iowa March 20th.
(Des Moines, IA) – I didn’t know it at the time, but it was victory 299. That’s a lot of wins in 17 seasons. And that’s what Solon (IA) Coach Brad Randall has garnered throughout his high school coaching career, including yesterday’s victory over undefeated IKM-Manning.
Tonight, he has his Spartans back in the Iowa Class 2A state basketball championship game a year after winning his first title.
What makes this opportunity special?
Well, last year’s title was won with a lot of contributors that have either graduated or been lost to injury, making this year’s advancement of relative varsity newcomers somewhat remarkable.
The reward? They get to face off again with private school Western Christian of Hull, a team Solon beat last year in a thrilling double overtime semifinal matchup after trailing by double figures late in the third quarter.
Wingate, Indiana was home of the Indiana state high school basketball champions in 1913 and 1914. A sign as you pass through the town proudly proclaims such. On our journey this day, it was the first town of significance we encountered after leaving Interstate 74, and owns a rich basketball history that includes the 1920 national high school championship. Today, however, we are searching for New Richmond, the settlement that owns the distinction of also being the fictitious town of Hickory, made famous by the 1986 movie Hoosiers.
From Wingate, the GPS routed us through a series of roads so narrow we could drive on the left shoulder and still be in our own lane. Surrounded by cornfields, the road to Hickory was as desolate as the movie’s opening scenes.
New Richmond boasted a population of 349 in the 2000 census, and that seems overstated. When we stopped to take a photo of the sign leading into the town, we chatted briefly with a man mowing his lawn who, after several minutes of contemplation, tried to guide us to the old barn/homestead field site. We never found it, but we did find the historic TJ Oppy hardware store that was used for the barbershop scenes in the movie. The post office and town hall both fly the “Hickory” reference proudly, and we later learned that the proprietor of the local hardware store is a historian of the movie and has many relics from the movie in his store. Unfortunately, we didn’t learn that until our next stop.