Wood's bumpy ride at Notre Dame comes to an end


Wood's bumpy ride at Notre Dame comes to an end

Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood announced Monday he will enter the NFL Draft, closing the book on four up-and-down years in South Bend.

"Cierrehas been an important member of our football team in my three years at NotreDame and I appreciate all he did to help get our program back on top," NotreDame coach Brian Kelly said in a statement released by the team. "I wish him well in the future and hope hehas a successful playing career at the next level."

Rated as a four-star prospect from Oxnard, Calif., Wood committed to Notre Dame while the Charlie Weis regime was still in place. He got to campus in 2009 expecting to make an impact right away, but much to his disappointment rode the bench all season.

"I really didn't want to be here, because who really wants to if you're not playing," Wood told in 2011. He added: "I never lost my love of the game, I just wanted to take my talents somewhere else."

A few factors helped keep Wood at Notre Dame following his freshman season, though. First and foremost was the firing of Charlie Weis, and beyond that, a close relationship with Manti Te'o helped the linebacker push Wood to remain in South Bend.

Wood viewed a new coaching staff as an opportunity to prove himself -- something he'd have to do if he transferred anyways -- and used that as motivation to force his way up Notre Dame's depth chart. And having Te'o at his side helped restore the swagger Wood lacked in 2009.

"I'm a linebacker, I mean, I couldn't tell him how to run the ball," Te'o said. "I just gave him points on how to gain the confidence that he once had that got him here."

In 2010, Wood led Notre Dame in rushing attempts and yards, getting a long look after Armando Allen was lost for the season in late October. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry and also caught 20 passes for 170 yards, offering a glimpse of the breakout season he went on to have in 2011.

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As Notre Dame's feature back, Wood rushed 217 times for 1,102 yards and nine touchdowns in his junior season. He had at least 20 carries in five of Notre Dame's 13 games, and only had single-digit carries in one game -- that being Oct. 22 against USC, in which fellow running back Jonas Gray only had four carries.

But just when it looked like Wood was at the top of his game, he was forced out of it. He was hit with a two-game suspension to begin the 2012 season, and he quickly lost his No. 1 running back job to close friend and roommate Theo Riddick.

"Not playing was terrible," Wood said. "You practice all summer, put in so much work and so much time, and to not play those first two games was heartbreaking."

Wood finished the 2012 season with 114 carries, five fewer than he had his sophomore year. He gained 742 yards, though, featuring runs of 62 and 68 yards against Oklahoma and Wake Forest, respectively.

His first big game of 2012 came Oct. 6 against Miami, in which he carried 18 times for 118 yards with two touchdowns. After the game, Wood said it was only a matter of time before he had a game like that -- just as long as the touches came his way.

"I was past overdue," Wood explained. "When I say it's just a matter of when I get the ball and stuff like that, I know I can ball out and I can make plays almost every play. It's just a matter of when the opportunity presents itself."

Confidence certainly wasn't the issue for Wood in 2012. This is the same guy who said of Te'o: "He thinks he can guard me, but he cant. I dont care how good he is, he cant guard me."

Wood finished his final season with Notre Dame averaging a career-best 6.5 yards per carry, a number he certainly was proud of. It lent itself to more confidence -- even if Wood's carries were cut.

While Wood's decision to leave reportedly weighed heavily on his desire to support his 1-year-old daughter, he's also leaving a less-than-ideal situation behind in South Bend. With George Atkinson III returning, Amir Carlisle and Will Mahone ready to contribute and a pair of highly-touted recruits coming to campus, Notre Dame's running back depth chart will be crowded in 2013.

Wood would've been Notre Dame's best running back next year, but it's also worth noting he was probably Notre Dame's best running back in 2012. And that didn't stop him from seeing single-digit carries in five of his 11 games.

In a statement released by the team, Wood was appreciative of the support he received during his time at Notre Dame.

There are so many people I need to thank that have helped get me to this point," Wood said. "My teammates are friends I know Ill have the rest of my life. Ill miss hanging out with them in the locker room and around campus. They are a great group of guys and are poised for success next year.

I also want to thank all of the coaches, specifically Coach Kelly and Coach Alford. Coach Kelly has the program heading in the right direction and Im happy to know hell remain our head coach in the future. Coach Alford has been so much more than a coach to me. Hes been a mentor and a role model. Hes helped turn me into the man I am today.

Lastly, I want to thank the school, our fans and the extended Notre Dame family. The love and appreciation youve shown me in my four years can never be repaid. Ill always remember the ovation I received as I ran out of the tunnel on senior day and I cant thank you enough.

Per Irish Illustrated, Wood is projected as a mid-round pick in April's NFL Draft, although he could certainly improve that position with good showings at the combine and during workouts over the next few months. The talent is there, and as long as the confidence is too, Wood has the chance to carve out a solid career in the NFL.

"I believe there isnt nobody out there that can tackle me, there isnt nobody out there that I havent faced that Im not better than," Wood boasted in October. "So with that being said, I go into every run that I get or every play, period, thinking that Im the baddest."

Loyola basketball coach Porter Moser to be next featured guest on Inside Look

NBC Sports Chicago

Loyola basketball coach Porter Moser to be next featured guest on Inside Look

“Inside Look presented by Cadillac,” hosted by NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan & featuring Porter Moser to debut Saturday, September 15 at 6:30 PM CT

NBC Sports Chicago live stream available on or via the NBC Sports app to provide additional web-exclusive coverage of ‘Inside Look,’ including extended video clips

Chicago, IL (September 11, 2018) – NBC Sports Chicago - THE home of the #AuthenticFan - continues to delve into the lives of some of the biggest names in Chicago sports with its candid, monthly, one-on-one interview series Inside Look presented by Cadillac.  

Debuting Saturday, September 15 at 6:30 PM CT (immediately following Cubs Postgame Live), NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan hosts an exclusive one-on-one interview with the man who led Loyola University Chicago’s men’s basketball team to the pinnacle of NCAA greatness this past spring, Ramblers head coach PORTER MOSER.  NOTE: Live stream of this program will also be available at or via the NBC Sports app to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers.

Moser, who recently signed a contract extension with the Ramblers through the 2025-26 season, was born in Naperville, IL and was a standout preps star at Benet Academy in nearby Lisle, which was followed by a successful collegiate career at Creighton University, where he helped the Bluejays to an MVC Tourney Championship and an NCAA Tourney appearance in 1989.  Following a number of post-playing career assistant coaching stints, along with head coaching positions at Arkansas-Little Rock and Illinois State, Moser was named head coach at Loyola in the spring of 2011, which ushered in a new level of success not seen in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood since 1963.

Moser’s nationally-recognized level of leadership with Loyola was officially established this past season as he led the mid-major program to a 32-6 record (15-3 in the MVC), which included winning the MVC Tournament title and automatically qualifying them for the “Big Dance.” As a #11-seed in the NCAA Tournament, Loyola’s incredible run began with upset victories over Miami-FL (#6), Tennessee (#3), Nevada (#7), along with their unforgettable win against #9 Kansas State, which sent the Ramblers to their first Final Four appearance in 55 years.  Over the past four seasons, Moser’s teams have recorded an 89-50 (.597) record and their 50 win total over the past two seasons are its most over a two-year period since posting 51 total victories during the 1962-63 & 1963-64 campaigns.

In this edition of “Inside Look,” Moser discusses everything from growing up from his early playing days in high school and college, his transition from player to coach, what the amazing run to the Final Four has meant for the university and mid-major programs in general, along with his vision for Loyola’s future, and much more.   

NBC Sports Chicago will also re-air Inside Look with Porter Moser on the following dates/times: Wed, Sept. 19 at 7:30 PM - Thu, Sept. 20 at 11:30 PM - Sat, Sept. 22 at 9:30 PM - Mon, Sept. 24 at 11:30 PM - Fri, Sept. 28 at 3:00 PM (on NBC Sports Chicago+) & Sat, Sept. 30 at 5:30 PM (Schedule subject to change). In addition, viewers are urged to check out for additional interview footage of the Moser interview, along with an archive of past Inside Look guests over the years.  
Note the following quotes from Inside Look with Porter Moser presented by Cadillac premiering Saturday, September 15 at 6:30 PM:
Moser on the conversation he had with his father when he decided to become a coach:
“I said ‘Dad, I think...I know I want to coach college basketball.’ He goes, ‘How much you gonna make?’ I go, ‘Well, I’m going to volunteer my first year and bartend at night to make some extra money.’ And he said, ‘Do you love it? that what you’re passionate about?’ And I said ‘yes.’ And he says, ‘You gotta do it…you gotta do it.”

Moser on his team approach last season: 
"I never said during the season, ‘Hey you guys, we’re going to the Final Four.’ It was about the process. You ask any one of our guys, it was about getting better, what’s in front of us. We very rarely, pretty much hardly at all, talked about the end goal.”

Moser on the importance of making the NCAA Tournament: 
“There’s been some Loyola Rambler fans that have been sitting here 35 years...they’ve been waiting. And to share this arena with them (Loyola fans), with our families and kids, and to have your name come up on the screen. Miami, then Loyola. And to watch us all jump up, that’s an accumulation of a lot of work. And just to share it with the stage we had and the people we had, that’s what makes things special…the journey you went through and the people that went through it with you.”

Moser on accomplishing a Final Four run in his hometown: 
“I was that kid. Cubs, Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears. I even rooted the White Sox on...and to have a little part of this and to see how Chicago embraced it (Loyola’s run), that meant a lot to me.”

Moser on perseverance: 
“I’ve always said, if I had a tattoo, and I don’t, it would be an old proverb that would be: ‘Fall Seven, Rise Eight.’ And I’ve just been blessed to have people in my life that have always talked about perseverance. I keep a picture of the ‘63 national (championship) team right to my left. Every morning when I walk in to my desk, I see them holding the trophy…and I have another picture of Sheridan Road packed with fans. When things get hard, it’s such a much more rewarding path fighting through it.”

Moser on not being complacent going forward: 
“Don’t get me wrong, I want to win. I want to advance. I want to get better. I’m obsessed this offseason about getting better. I don’t want to talk about repeating. I don’t want to talk about going back to the Final Four. I want to talk about capturing our culture again.”

DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24


DePaul extends contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through 2023-24

One of the icons of DePaul athletics is sticking around.

Monday, DePaul extended the contract of women's basketball head coach Doug Bruno through the 2023-24 season. Bruno just wrapped up his 32nd season as head coach of his alma mater, leading DePaul to its 16th consecutive NCAA Tournament.

While the Blue Demons were eliminated in the Round of 32 this March, Bruno has led the program to the Sweet 16 three of the last eight seasons.

“I am so thankful to be working at a great institution like DePaul,” Bruno said in a press release. “I never would have been here without coach Ray Meyer who gave me a basketball scholarship, Frank McGrath and Gene Sullivan who hired me in the 1970s."

Behind Bruno, DePaul went 27-8 in 2017-18, winning its fifth-straight Big East regular-season title. The Blue Demons also won their third Big East Tournament title in five years, defeating rival Marquette 98-63. Bruno also picked up his 700th career victory in February, defeating conference-foe Butler 86-68.

“I’ve been fortunate to have great assistant coaches through all the years,” he said. “My current staff is absolutely one of the best in the country.

"Most important, the reason you succeed is the players. I’ve been blessed to have tremendous student-athletes help build the DePaul women’s basketball legacy.

“I am excited about this contract extension because we still have work to do. As proud as we are of everything we have achieved, our expectation through the length of this extension is to take the Blue Demons to even higher places.”