NCAA Talk

Word On The Street: NU extending Fitzgerald?

Word On The Street: NU extending Fitzgerald?

Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2011
CSNChicago.com

Contract extension for NU coach?

Teddy Greenstein reports that top Northwestern University officials are working on a lucrative and comprehensive contract extension for Pat Fitzgerald, in an effort to make the coach part of the program for many years to come. The deal is expected to be wrapped up in the next few weeks.

The Big Ten coach already has a deal through 2015, but NU athletic director Jim Phillips told Fitzgerald that the school wanted to enhance his contract after this season.

Kerry Wood demands broadcast job?

In December, Wood signed a 1.5 million, one-year deal with the Cubs. WSCR-AM 670 reported that Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood had a clause in his contract guaranteeing him of a broadcast job after his playing career ends.

According to a Cubs spokesperson, "there is absolutely no truth to that."

CSNChicago's David Kaplan spoke with Kerry Wood and the Cubs reliever laughed off the story saying "I have no interest in broadcasting and that report is untrue." (Chicago Breaking Sports)

Reed Johnson back on the North Side

Fans were pleased when the Chicago Cubs signed Kerry Wood last month. Now another fan favorite is back in the friendly confines.

Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan reports that outfielder Reed Johnson was signed to a minor-league deal with no guaranteed money. Johnson won over fans with his wall-banging dives during the 2008 and 2009 seasons. According to Sullivan, he'll be competing with Fernando Perez for the reserve outfield spot. (Chicago Tribune)

Notre Dame's Floyd passes on NFL

Michael Floyd accepted the Sun Bowl MVP trophy on New Years Eve and his teammates knew that he had played his final game for Notre Dame. But Wednesday Floyd announced that he will be back for his senior season.

"This was one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make," Floyd said. "My dream has always been to play in the NFL but I didn't think that this was the best time to make that jump." (Chicago Tribune)
Seahawks coach teaches press conference etiquette

Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was interrupted during his press conference in which he addressed the media about his upcoming opponent Chicago Bears. The interruption came from a reporter's cell phone. Using it as an audio recorder, the phone was placed on Carroll's podium, and started vibrating in the middle of the presser.

Carroll was a good sport about the mishap, answering the phone and politely telling the caller that it was not a good time to talk, as he was in the middle of something. (Yahoo Sports)
Bulls commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

On January 9, the North Suburban YMCA hosted a special event celebrating the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Current and former Chicago Bulls players visited the event and met with participants of the Y youth basketball program and children from the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago.

Ronnie Brewer, Sidney Green, and Bob Love signed autographs and posed for pictures with the children after watching a film about Dr. King and the Civil Rights Movement, and then led a discussion about the effect Dr. King had on the nation. (Trib Local)

Mark Dantonio retires from coaching Michigan State football

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USA TODAY

Mark Dantonio retires from coaching Michigan State football

Mark Dantonio led one of the best eras of Michigan State football, but announced his retirement from coaching on Tuesday.

The 63-year-old had been at the school since 2007. He led the Spartans to the College Football Playoff in 2015 and two Big Ten titles. He tweeted out a message announcing his retirement.


“After much reflection and discussion with my family, I feel that it is now time for change as we enter into a new decade of Michigan State Football,” Dantonio wrote.

The timing is unusual considering firing and hiring season in college football has long since passed. On top of that, the early signing period for recruits has already gone by. Whoever ends up being Dantonio’s replacement won’t have much time to prepare for spring practices.

Replacing Dantonio’s accomplishments at MSU won’t be easy either. Dantonio took over a program that managed one top 25 finish in its previous 16 years (and that includes a five-year Nick Saban tenure). He left having produced seven top 25 finishes and 12 bowl appearances in 13 seasons.

The Spartans made three Big Ten Championship Game appearances under Dantonio and won two of them, one of which propelled them to a national semifinal. However, the Spartans had gone 27-24 since making the playoff.

Maxwell 'Bunchie' Young from the NFL’s Super Bowl video already has a scholarship offer from Lovie Smith

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USA TODAY

Maxwell 'Bunchie' Young from the NFL’s Super Bowl video already has a scholarship offer from Lovie Smith

Remember the kid sporting the cool faux-hawk in the NFL’s star-studded Super Bowl video? There is a chance he could be coming to Urbana-Champaign in five years.

Back in 2017, University of Illinois head coach and former Bears coach Lovie Smith offered then 10-year-old Maxwell “Bunchie” Young a scholarship to play for the Fighting Illini. Bunchie, now 13, starred in the NFL’s “NEXT 100” video, in which he was seen navigating famous football faces and various locales around the US before charging the Super Bowl LIV stadium in Miami. Young had been previously profiled by ESPN and was named Sports Illustrated SportsKid of the Year in 2017.

The news of the scholarship offer from Illinois three years ago opened up a larger conversation around schools recruiting and offering kids at such a young age. In the case of Young, he won’t be eligible to play for the Illini until 2025. Smith’s current contract expires long before that so there's always a chance that the coaching staff that made the offer won't be in place when Young is eligible to play. According to NCAA rules, schools can't make written scholarship offers until August of the player’s senior season. Verbal offers, however, are a different story.

Young wasn’t the only Chicagoland connection in the NFL’s ode to the next 100 years of football. Bears owner Virginia McCaskey had a supporting role near the end of the video, sporting Bears gear and presenting Young with the ball before he ran into the Super Bowl stadium. McCaskey filmed her cameo at Halas Hall in Lake Forest, which led to another local highlight.

Libertyville High School’s football field made an appearance about a minute into the video, the location chosen due to its proximity to Halas Hall. About a minute in, Young is seen sprinting onto the Libertyville field to intercept a pass from Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman before holding the ball for a field-goal attempt by US women’s soccer star Carli Lloyd.