Bulls

Zvonar builds a powerhouse at Lincoln-Way East

922201.png

Zvonar builds a powerhouse at Lincoln-Way East

Start-up schools usually struggle out of the gate. It takes at least a year or two or more to organize community support and establish relationships, a culture, an attitude, a tradition. Even after all of that, there is no guarantee that the football program will come together.

South Elgin, in its seventh year, started 0-9, 3-6, 3-6. Grayslake North, also in its seventh year, started 0-9, 1-8, 0-9. Plainfield South, which opened in 2002, started 0-9, 0-9, 2-7. Plainfield East started 1-8, 1-8, 3-6. Metea Valley, in its third year, started 1-8, 4-5.

Providence, which opened in 1968, started 1-6, 0-7, 1-8, 3-4 and 1-6-1. The Celtics didn't field a winning team for the first seven years. But coach Matt Senffner produced nine state champions from 1987 to 2004.

Prairie Ridge, which opened in 1997, started 1-8 but recovered quickly with 5-4 and 6-4 seasons and won a state championship last year. Neuqua Valley, which opened in 1998, started 0-9, 4-5, 3-6 and 1-8 but has experienced only two losing seasons in the last 10 years.

Richards opened in 1965 and didn't field a winning team for the first seven years, starting 0-7, 0-9, 2-6, 2-6 and 0-9. But coach Gary Korhonen arrived and won 306 games, two state titles and qualified for the state playoff for 23 years in a row.

Vernon Hills didn't take long to establish a winning tradition under coach Tony Monken. After starting 2-7 in 2000, the team qualified for the state playoff in each of the next three years and has sustained only one losing season in the last 11 years.

A rarity is Woodstock North, which opened 0-9 and 2-7. But coach Jeff Schroeder's third team went 7-3 and qualified for the state playoff. And this year's squad also finished the regular season with a 7-2 mark.

But nobody has been more successful than Lincoln-Way East's Rob Zvonar.

Since he was hired at the new Frankfort school in 2000, he has fashioned a start-up record that would be the envy of Google and Apple...no losing teams in his first 12 years, an up-to-date record of 111-26, a winning percentage of .810, one state championship, 81-11 in the last eight years, 12 state qualifiers in a row.

And 2012 could be best of all. Led by Northern Illinois-bound quarterback Tom Fuessel, linebackers Adam O'Grady and Kyle Langenderfer and tackle Nick Allegretti, the Griffins are 9-0 after last Friday's 42-6 rout of Joliet West.

The Griffins are averaging 35.3 points per game and have allowed only 79 total. Since a 20-14 victory over three-time defending state champion Montini in Week 2, no opponent has gotten within 15 points. They have allowed only 13 points in their last three games.

How did Zvonar do it?

He had good teachers. At Downstate Monticello, he was a 5-foot-10, 210-pound Little All-State linebacker on Hud Venerable's 11-1 state quarterfinalist in 1988. Ironically, Venerable currently is athletic director at Lincoln-Way Central.

Zvonar was going to walk on at Southern Illinois but he understood he was built for Division III so he opted to enroll at Illinois Wesleyan. After graduating in 1994, he wanted to stay for another year to gain experience at coaching college football. But basketball coach Dennis Bridges helped him to land a job at Lincoln-Way Central, where he assisted head coach Rob Glielmi for six years.

When Lincoln-Way East opened in 2000, district superintendent Larry Wylie decided to stay in house to name the school's first football coach.

Zvonar got the job. He started with freshmen and sophomores in 2000, then fielded an all-junior varsity squad in 2001. The program was off and running.

"What we have achieved stemmed from the success that Glielmi and Lincoln-Way Central had," Zvonar said. "We didn't have to start up a new culture. We didn't have to change the culture. We already had a great winning attitude. The system wasn't broken so we didn't try to fix it. We piggy-backed on what Lincoln-Way Central had done."

Zvonar's slogan for his new program was: "New tradition but same excellence."

"They talk about five-tool baseball players," he said. "Well, we had a community that was ready, good youth programs, an administration that was excited and supportive, great players and parents and great boosters.

"The kids didn't want to make excuses or alibi. They took us through the first year with underclassmen. We made the state playoff with juniors at 6-3 in our first year. When Lincoln-Way Central split, they kept Manhattan and New Lenox and we got Mokena and Frankfort and Frankfort Square."

From day one, Zvonar had a first-rate staff. Joel Pallissard, who played for Bishop McNamara coach Rich Zinanni in the 1980s, became offensive coordinator. Jack Eddy has coached the offensive line. Ron Tomczak, the late Thornton Fractional North coach, and his son Steve were on the staff at one time.

Zvonar traces the success of his program to "a combination of being demanding, toughness and discipline and investing time into the kids, making them know we care about them as a coach and mentor. Rules without a relationship will equal rebellion but rules with a relationship will equal results. That's our credo."

Is he surprised by all of the success, no losing seasons in 12 years and never failing to qualify for the state playoff?

"Yes. If I'm being honest, we invested a tremendous amount of time and hard work. We were hopeful but until it actually happened we wouldn't have said it was going to happen so quickly."

When Lincoln-Way Central lost to Joliet Catholic in the 1999 quarterfinals, at a time when the transition to Lincoln-Way East was being made, Zvonar said to Glielmi: "The day we are disappointed at getting beat in the quarterfinals will be a great day at East."

"I didn't know we'd take off like that. I was too arrogant or stupid to know it wouldn't happen," Zvonar said.

But he cites two dates that forever will be remembered as turning points in the rapid development of the program--2001 when Lincoln-Way East qualified for the state playoff with an all-junior squad and 2004, when the team was 1-4 and on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention.

"In Week 6, we pulled out a victory over Lincoln-Way Central that brought us to 2-4. We finished 5-4 and got into the playoff. It was the first game that Anthony Kropp started at quarterback. He came off the bench, led us to seven victories in a row and went to the semifinals. Then he quarterbacked the 14-0 state championship team in 2005."

Another pleasant memory is offensive guard Adam Gettis, who went on to be an All-Big Ten selection at Iowa and currently plays with the Washington Redskins in the NFL.

"We were 5-3 in 2001 going into Week 9 with Sandburg," Zvonar said. "We could have been content to be 5-4. But we won the game to finish at 6-3. We didn't go in the back door."

Zvonar doesn't do it with Division I players. He has 15 players from last year's team playing in college this season, the most in program history, but most of them are at small colleges. He describes Gettis as a "once-in-a-decade or once-in-a-lifetime" player.

He recalls a sage comment that the late Wheaton North coach Jim Rexilius once told him: "You have something going when the kids you have want to do better than the kids who came before."

"We instill an attitude of toughness and discipline. That's my philosophy," Zvonar summed up. "If you talk to guys who played for us earlier, there is a softening now. The average kid we get will work as hard as you demand.

"We don't get blue-chip eighth graders but kids who are excited about football. When they walk in the door as freshmen, we take every opportunity to develop them. They love the game. They have a passion for it. They are willing to work hard. They don't want to let down the kids who played the
year before."

Lincoln-Way East, a No. 1 seed in Class 7A, will host Plainfield Central in the opening round of the state playoff.

NBC Sports Chicago announces Bulls expanded season-long multi-platform coverage details

nbc_sports_chicago_slide.jpg

NBC Sports Chicago announces Bulls expanded season-long multi-platform coverage details

NBC Sports Chicago’s 46-Game Bulls Regular Season Game Schedule gets underway with the 2017-18 SEASON OPENER at the Eastern Conference rival Toronto Raptors this Thursday, October 19!

Live streaming coverage of EVERY Regular Season Bulls telecast on NBC Sports Chicago – including all Pre/Post-Game Shows –

to be made available to authenticated subscribers on NBCSportsChicago.com and via the NBC Sports app!

SEASON OPENER coverage on October 19 to feature morning practice updates on Facebook Live, “SportsTalk Live,” “Bulls Pre/Postgame Live,”

a new Bulls season preview PODCAST, plus - expanded social media coverage via every NBC Sports Chicago portal all day/night!

NEW THIS SEASON: NBC Sports Chicago to carry “Bulls Pre/Postgame Live” before/after EVERY GAME (including all games airing on WGN and ESPN)!

NEW THIS SEASON: Bulls Legend/Four-Time NBA Champion HORACE GRANT to join NBC Sports Chicago’s Bulls Coverage Team!

NBCSportsChicago.com to feature in-depth reporting from Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill; Live Coverage of Every Postgame Press Conference,

“BullsTalk Podcasts,” Expanded Game Highlights, plus 24/7 Twitter updates from NBC Sports Chicago’s crew of Bulls experts and much more!

“Bulls Season Preview” special airs TONIGHT at 9:30 PM CT!

Chicago, IL (October 17, 2017)NBC Sports Chicago, the multi-platform home for the most games and the most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago Bulls, is once again ready to deliver another thrill-packed season of NBA excitement with 46 live regular season Bulls games, which includes live streaming to authenticated subscribers via NBCSportsChicago.com and the NBC Sports app.  NBC Sports Chicago is also announcing the addition of Bulls legend/four-time NBA Champion HORACE GRANT to its Bulls coverage team, plus – for the first time ever – LIVE pre/postgame coverage for EVERY Bulls telecast (including games airing on WGN and ESPN), and much more!

The 2017-18 Chicago Bulls regular season on NBC Sports Chicago gets underway with the SEASON OPENER at the Eastern Conference rival Toronto Raptors on Thursday, October 19 with expanded, day-long multi-platform coverage; note the following details (all non-game programming also available to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers 24/7 at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive):

  • (MORNING) Breakfast with the Bulls – NBC Sports Chicago will get the day started with an early morning Bulls practice report from the Air Canada Centre.  Hosted by NBCSportsChicago.com’s Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill, Breakfast with the Bulls will be streamed “exclusively” on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago). Interviews with Bulls players/coaches can be seen on NBC Sports Chicago’s Facebook page later in the morning.
  • (THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE AFTERNOON/EVENING)In addition to Facebook (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) and Twitter (@NBCSChicago & @NBCSBulls), NBC Sports Chicago’s social media outlets will provide fans with a multitude of Opening Night “Sights & Sounds” moments from ‘NBCSChicago’ via Instagram and Instagram Stories. Plus, fans can look forward to a brand new “Season Preview” Bulls Talk PODCAST (NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts) hosted by the network’s team of Bulls experts.
  • 5:00 PM – “5 at 5” on Facebook Live (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) – Fans can look forward to a special Bulls Opening Night preview on NBC Sports Chicago’s popular “5 at 5” segment on Facebook Live featuring Bulls Pre/Postgame Live host Mark Schanowski, studio analysts/former Bulls standouts Kendall Gill and Will Perdue, along with Bulls digital reporter/producer Mark Strotman discussing the Top 5 hottest Bulls/NBA topics heading into the season opener in Toronto.
  • 5:30 PM – SportsTalk Live presented by The Chevy Silverado Special Bulls Opening Night pre-game edition featuring discussion & analysis with host David Kaplan and a panel of Bulls/NBA experts.
  • 6:00 PM – Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light – Opening Night coverage gets underway with Bulls Pregame Live presented by Coors Light featuring host Mark Schanowski, along with analysts Kendall Gill and Will Perdue.  In addition to up-to-the-minute pre-game reports from NBCSportsChicago.com’s Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill from Air Canada Centre, this half-hour show will feature a complete player match-up breakdown, interviews with Bulls players and coaches, along with a look around the league at additional games taking place during the NBA’s opening week of action.
  • 6:30 PM – 2017/18 NBA SEASON OPENER – Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors – Featuring the always-entertaining announcing tandem – entering their 10th season together – of Neil Funk and Stacey King.  ALSO – NBC Sports Chicago will carry Metro PCS Bulls Halftime Live on a special Facebook Live segment (Facebook.com/NBCSChicago) featuring Schanowski, Gill, and Perdue, which will urge fans to send along their comments and questions to the studio team.
  • 9:00 PM – Sprint Bulls Postgame Live (time approx.) – Hosted by Schanowski, Gill, and Perdue, Sprint Bulls Postgame Live will provide fans with a thorough game recap/highlights/analysis, plus live post-game press conferences and player interviews, along with preview of the Bulls home opener on Saturday vs. San Antonio.
  • 9:30 PM – In the Loop presented by GMC (time approx.)  Expanded “Opening Night” recap, along with the latest hot topics, highlights, and can’t miss videos from the day in sports.
  • 12:30 AM – Bulls at Toronto (game replay)

In addition to its Season Opener coverage, NBC Sports Chicago has announced it will begin providing its viewers with surrounding Bulls Pre/Postgame Live coverage for EVERY game (home and road) on the Bulls schedule, which includes local broadcast Bulls telecasts airing on WGN-TV, along with exclusive national games airing on ESPN.  These additional airings of Bulls Pre/Postgame Live will feature primary host Mark Schanowski and primary analyst Kendall Gill, along with Will Perdue for a number of select non-NBC Sports Chicago Bulls game telecasts.  NOTE: Due to live game programming airing on the main NBC Sports Chicago channel location on occasion, a number of Bulls Pre/Postgame Live editions will air on the network’s alternate channel, NBC Sports Chicago+.

ALSO – beginning this season, NBC Sports Chicago welcomes its newest studio analyst as Bulls legend/four-time NBA Champion HORACE GRANT joins the Bulls Pre/Postgame Live crew for a number of select games on the network’s Bulls season schedule.  Grant, known for his trademark on-court goggles, spent 17 standout seasons in the NBA as one of the league’s dominant power forwards and helped guide the Bulls with his fellow teammates Michael Jordan & Scottie Pippen to three consecutive NBA titles (1991, 1992, 1993). 

Throughout the season, EVERY Bulls game telecast airing on NBC Sports Chicago, including surrounding Bulls Pre/Postgame Live coverage, will be accessible live via NBCSportsChicago.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers.  The live streaming service is currently available to customers of Comcast/Xfinity, DIRECTV, DISH Network, AT&T U-verse, Mediacom, RCN, WOW!, Time Warner Cable and Charter among numerous other carriers.  For a full list of carriers and more information about NBC Sports Chicago’s live streaming service of Bulls games, viewers are urged to visit the following link: nbcsportschicago.com/live-faq

In addition, airing TONIGHT at 9:30 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago, Bulls fans can look forward to a special sneak preview of the 2017-18 NBA season with the Bulls Season Preview presented by Coors Light special.  Hosted by Schanowski, along with analysts Gill, Perdue, and Goodwill, this half-hour special, filled with player/coaches interviews and detailed season preview analysis, will provide viewers with a comprehensive look at this year’s Bulls roster and all the off-season trades & acquisitions that will have fans ready to go for the Opening Night tip-off.  The Bulls Season Preview special is also scheduled to re-air tonight at 10:30 PM.

In addition to its live stream of every NBC Sports Chicago Bulls game telecast, NBCSportsChicago.com will also provide fans with even more exclusive Bulls content throughout the season including the following:

  • NBCSportsChicago.com will stream EVERY Bulls home postgame press conference LIVE providing insider access to head coach Fred Hoiberg.
  • Bulls “Insider” Vincent Goodwill returns for his third full season on the beat. Follow him on Twitter @vgoodwill for the latest team/player news and inside access 24/7. Bulls digital reporter/producer Mark Strotman (@markstrot) will also provide Bulls and NBA reports/features on the beat with Goodwill. Follow @NBCSBulls on Twitter for full team coverage, giveaways, fan photos and game day news throughout the 2017-18 NBA campaign.
  • Video highlights from every Bulls game, including in-game highlights at halftime.  Pre-game interviews from team practices will also be provided, as well as extensive post-game reaction from the locker room and analysis from the “Sprint Bulls Postgame Live” team. Fans can also check out the network’s fast-paced “Bulls in 60 presented by Sprint,” a comprehensive highlight package on NBCSportsChicago.com and across the network’s social media channels.
  • Weekly analytical features chronicling the Bulls and league-wide data of interest including the “Honda Road Ahead” and “NBA Power Rankings,” presented by WOW!
  • “Bulls Talk PODCAST” – Featuring Bulls Pre/Postgame Live host Mark Schanowski, analyst Kendall Gill, “Insider” Vincent Goodwill, digital reporter/producer Mark Strotman, and an array of special guests, NBC Sports Chicago’s “Bulls Talk” podcast features in-depth Bulls discussion on the hottest topics and breaking news throughout the season. Fans can download all of NBC Sports Chicago’s podcasts at NBCSportsChicago.com/podcasts and simply subscribe to them via Apple Podcasts, Google Play or Stitcher.  The podcasts can be played on any mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.
  • Push Alerts: NBC Sports Chicago will deliver Bulls push notifications for breaking team and player news, “Insider” reports, plus game reminder alerts via NBC Sports Chicago’s SportsTalk app for iOS and Android devices.
  • BullsTalk (NBCSportsChicago.com/Bulls) - NBCSportsChicago.com’s high-velocity, real-time, comprehensive Bulls news and opinion section featuring original commentary, reporting and social media aggregation. BullsTalk contains interactive content with continually updated insights from the network’s talent, which includes the #BullsTalk podcast.
  • Fans can also follow and connect with NBC Sports Chicago’s extensive Bulls coverage on Facebook (including numerous “Facebook Live” segments with NBC Sports Chicago talent), Instagram and Snapchat at ‘NBCSChicago’

 

NBC SPORTS CHICAGO

NBCSportsChicago.com/NBC Sports app

2017 - 2018 Chicago Bulls Schedule

REGULAR SEASON

  1. Thu, Oct 19          @ Toronto                                6:30 pm         SEASON OPENER!
  2. Tue, Oct. 24         @ Cleveland                             6:00 pm
  3. Wed, Nov. 1         @ Miami                                  6:30 pm
  4. Sat, Nov. 4           vs. New Orleans                       7:00 pm        
  5. Fri, Nov. 10          vs. Indiana                               7:00 pm        
  6. Sat, Nov. 11         @ San Antonio                         7:30 pm
  7. Wed, Nov. 15       @ Oklahoma City                     7:00 pm
  8. Sun, Nov. 19        @ Phoenix                               7:00 pm
  9. Wed, Nov. 22       @ Utah                                    8:00 pm         NBCSCH+
  10. Fri, Nov. 24          @ Golden State                        9:30 pm
  11. Fri, Dec. 1            vs. Sacramento                        7:00 pm
  12. Wed, Dec. 6         @ Indiana                                6:00 pm        
  13. Fri, Dec. 8            @ Charlotte                              6:00 pm
  14. Fri, Dec. 15          @ Milwaukee                            7:00 pm
  15. Mon, Dec. 18        vs. Philadelphia                         7:00 pm
  16. Wed, Dec. 20       vs. Orlando                              7:00 pm
  17. Sat, Dec. 23         @ Boston                                 6:30 pm
  18. Tue, Dec. 26        @ Milwaukee                            7:00 pm        
  19. Wed, Dec. 27       vs. New York                            7:00 pm
  20. Sun, Dec. 31        @ Washington                          2:30 pm
  21. Wed, Jan. 3          vs. Toronto                               7:00 pm
  22. Fri, Jan. 5             @ Dallas                                  7:30 pm         NBCSCH+
  23. Mon, Jan. 8          vs. Houston                              7:00 pm        
  24. Wed, Jan. 10        @ New York                             6:30 pm
  25. Mon, Jan. 15        vs. Miami                                 2:30 pm        
  26. Mon, Jan. 22        @ New Orleans                        7:00 pm
  27. Fri, Jan. 26           vs. Los Angeles Lakers             7:00 pm
  28. Sun, Jan. 28         vs. Milwaukee                           2:30 pm        
  29. Wed, Jan. 31        @ Portland                               9:00 pm
  30. Sat, Feb. 3           @ Los Angeles Clippers            2:30 pm
  31. Wed, Feb. 14       vs. Toronto                               7:00 pm
  32. Thu, Feb. 22         vs. Philadelphia                         7:00 pm
  33. Tue, Feb. 27         @ Charlotte                              6:00 pm
  34. Mon, Mar. 5         vs. Boston                                7:00 pm
  35. Wed, Mar. 7         vs. Memphis                             7:00 pm
  36. Tue, Mar. 13        vs. Los Angeles Clippers           7:00 pm
  37. Sat, Mar. 17         vs. Cleveland                            7:00 pm        
  38. Wed, Mar. 21       vs. Denver                                7:00 pm
  39. Fri, Mar. 23          vs. Milwaukee                           7:00 pm
  40. Sat, Mar. 24         @ Detroit                                 6:00 pm        
  41. Fri, Mar. 30          @ Orlando                               6:00 pm
  42. Sun, Apr. 1           vs. Washington                         2:30 pm
  43. Tue, Apr. 3           vs. Charlotte                             7:00 pm
  44. Sat, Apr. 7            vs. Brooklyn                             7:00 pm
  45. Mon, Apr. 9          @ Brooklyn                              6:30 pm
  46. Wed, Apr. 11        vs. Detroit                                7:00 pm

23 Home, 23 Road regular season games

Total: 46 games

All Times Central Time

Schedule Subject to Change

20 crazy (or are they...?) predictions for the NBA season

warriorskdcurry.png
USA TODAY

20 crazy (or are they...?) predictions for the NBA season

1. The Golden State Warriors will be better than ever this season and will repeat as NBA champions...but will have big time bumps on the road in the Western Conference.

2. Kevin Durant will be better and win his second Most Valuable Player award, even though Steph Curry is still the arbiter for Golden State’s culture.

3. LeBron James will add to his resume as being one of the top five players ever, if not higher, but won’t catch Michael Jordan for total MVPs (five)...

4. ...and Cleveland had better enjoy him this year, because come July, he’s headed out of Ohio.

5. Speaking of headed out of town, a coach will be fired after a year of leaguewide stability, for an underachieving team in the underachieving Eastern Conference...

6. ...In other words, Fred Hoiberg is safe!

7. The Eastern Conference tank-a-thon will be both ugly and necessary for a couple teams in desperate need of lottery luck, including the Bulls.

8. One of the tank-a-thon teams won’t have the stomach for the losing and will make a panic move, especially when incoming college stars Michael Porter Jr or Marvin Bagley show the slightest signs of struggling.

9. Lonzo Ball will look like a point guard in the mold of Jason Kidd, a guy everyone will flock to play with...and not even LaVar Ball can screw that up.

10. But he’ll try because he won’t shut up...and we’ll never stop listening.

10. Dennis Smith Jr. will be the best incoming rookie, but Ben Simmons will win Rookie of the Year in Philadelphia.

11. Kyrie Irving will formally enter the conversation as one of the league’s best point guards, in part because Brad Stevens will help him become a better facilitator...

12. Irving is (bear with me Chicago’s own Isiah Thomas) the greatest scorer in terms of skill set from the point guard spot in the history of the league

13. For different reasons, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will struggle with their new “helpful” teammates…But will be hell on earth in a seven-game series.

14. Remember this name: Caris Levert from the Brooklyn Nets.

15. Giannis Antetokounmpo was on my top-five MVP ballot last season…he’ll be higher this time around.

16. Jabari Parker will be traded from the Bucks this year, perhaps before he returns from injury…

17. Big names will be on the trading block from the center spot: DeMarcus Cousins, Hassan Whiteside and Andre Drummond.

18. Drummond, though, will have a bounceback year in Detroit and improve from the free-throw line.

19. This year will prove the Bulls didn’t get enough in trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves (or TimberBulls/TimberTibs)...

20. But Zach LaVine will show he’s more than deserving of a max contract when he returns from injury.