Karen Umlauf named associate coach for Bulls' summer league team

umlauf_resized.jpg
Chicago Bulls

Karen Umlauf named associate coach for Bulls' summer league team

Women coaching in the NBA has become a revelation in recent memory. Recently, the Spurs promoted Becky Hammon for a top job by Gregg Popovich. Plus, she also had an interview with the Bucks this spring. Now, Karen Umlauf, the longtime Bulls Senior Director of Basketball Administration has been named associate coach for NBA Summer League Bulls.

Umlauf has been around the game of basketball her whole life. She was a varsity basketball player at Northwestern, and she also appeared in the Wildcats’ first NCAA Tournament.

Hall of Fame general manager Jerry Krause, attributed with beginning the Bulls’ dynasty of the 90s, probably had some help from Umlauf’s brother, who was Krause’s top assistant.

Her father, sister and her younger brother all played basketball. In fact, former Wisconsin star and current Charlotte Hornet Frank Kaminsky is her nephew.

"I know it sounds trite, but I really want to learn," Umlauf told NBA.com. "I'm not saying I'm looking to be the first head coach or anything like that. I feel I haven't fully tapped into what I'm capable of yet. But I know I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization. I can bring a different perspective and feel with my front office experience that also would help in communications."

“I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization.”

Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations, John Paxon spoke highly of Umlauf and is excited to give her this opportunity.

“We probably have waited too long to give her an opportunity like this," said Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations John Paxson. "We all think the world of Karen. She's a smart basketball person and this gives her an opportunity. Gar (Forman, general manager) and I talked to her a while back and said we'd like to do something along these lines. She's a talented person, a longtime Chicago Bull.”

The cool thing is Krause actually asked Umlauf if she wanted to work for him, and 34 years later she’ll continue to pursue her dream.

"I'm super excited," Umlauf says. "I'm looking forward to helping."

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.

Edgy Tim's Northwestern in-state recruiting class recap

fitz-209.jpg
USA TODAY

Edgy Tim's Northwestern in-state recruiting class recap

Edgy's Northwestern Wildcats grade: B-

Northwestern and head coach Pat Fitzgerald wound up signing 18 names to the Wildcats Class of 2018 and that included six in-state names (including former Glenbard North and IMG Academy grad Greg Newsome). According to the Rivals.com team recruiting rankings the Northwestern recruiting class is ranked as the 59th best class in the nation and is also ranked last in the Big Ten conference. However, the various recruiting services take the overall number of recruits into account when generating it's team rankings and Northwestern limited size class impacts it's overall ranking. Instead think quality over quantity when looking at the Wildcats recruiting class. 

Headliner of the in-state class?

Lincoln-Way East four-star ranked Devin O'Rourke (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) was simply one of the most dominant players I saw live in 2018 if not over the past handful of seasons. O'Rourke, who was a consensus all-state player for the Griffins over the past two seasons and has the size/frame/length and reach in demand at the high Power 5 level. O'Rourke, who also runs exceptionally well for his size was able to show his ability to be an impact player over his senior season. 

Northwestern also did well signing former Glenbard North and IMG Academy grad three-star ranked Greg Newsome (6-foot-2, 170 pounds). Newsome has good length, speed and ball awareness and is also a physical defender who can play either corner or safety if required. Newsome also brings a toughness and street fighter mentality to the field. 

The one who got away?

Northwestern at least early on had a nice rapport with Warren Township four-star ranked wide receiver Micah Jones (6-foot-5, 205 pounds). Jones, who made an overnight unofficial visit to Northwestern early in his recruiting process had the Wildcats on his short list for quite some time. In the end Jones wound up committing early to Notre Dame, but Northwestern was in the thick of things for a while with Jones.

Final thoughts on the Wildcats recruiting efforts:

Northwestern has been on a nice roll over the past handful of years and the in-state Class of 2018 was a good group for the Wildcats. The in-state class offered a good amount of higher level kids who also could academically qualify. Northwestern does a very good job of identifying younger recruits very early in the process, recruiting them hard and being able to build up a strong bond and eventual commitments.

From the football program consistently winning games and getting to bowl games, to the ongoing major renovations and upgrades to it's facilities to the overall strong academics, Northwestern no question remains an attractive place for potential recruits. 

While the in-state recruiting class overall numbers varies from year to year, the Class of 2018 has is a strong overall group that the Wildcats will be able to add immediate depth and raise the overall talent level.