Illinois State Hires Smith as Head Women’s Basketball Coach
April 15th, 2013 by Tim Van Duyne
NORMAL- The Kaufman football building on the campus of Illinois State was packed to see ISU Athletic Director Gary Friedman introduce the seventh women’s head basketball coach in school history. Illinois State hired Barb Smith to replace former head coach Stephanie Glance on Sunday.
Smith has been involved in division-one women’s basketball for 26 years. She has been a head coach once before at San Diego State from 1997-2002. Smith has been an assistant coach at five different schools, her last stop being at Saint Louis University last season.
Smith is considered as a prominent recruiter. She has over ten top-20 nationally-ranked classes.
“I’m going to recruit hard work and character,” Smith said.
Sometimes when a coaching change takes place massive change occurs systematically. But it Smith will try to run a similar style of up-tempo offense that ISU ran last season. As far as tempo goes on offense and defense, Smith wants to keep the pressure on the opposing team at all times.
Smith’s three keys for success are team, effort and attitude.
Smith takes over for Glance, who resigned earlier this month. Glance left for a head coaching position at Columbia. In Glance’s three years at ISU, she coached three 20-win teams and had three WNIT appearances.
Fire at the Lodge
January 21st, 2013 by Tim Van Duyne
Normal, Ill. – Normal Fire Department responded to a fire at The Lodge around 9 p.m. Monday. The fire took place in a third floor apartment facing School St.
NFD received a call about an electrical light that was smoking in one of The Lodge hallways . Upon arrival the smoke and fire had extended into the attic.
The fire was isolated and no other apartments in the building were affected. There were no injuries involved in the incident.
WZND will update this story.
Miller Out for the Season
October 9th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
Normal – The Redbird football team has recently suffered some injuries to their offense. Senior running back Darrelynn Dunn missed last week’s game with a hand injury, which he suffered in the South Dakota game. The latest injury ISU has to deal with is Jonathon Miller’s.
Miller left the game early in the first half last Saturday against Southern Illinois with a knee injury. He gave Redbird fans some hope when he was able to limp off the field after the injury, but Head Coach Brock Spack revealed the ugly truth to the media at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.
“Miller is done for the season. He had an ACL tear and some other damage to his knee,” Spack said.
Spack said Dunn will practice this week and is expected to play against Youngstown State on Saturday.
Listen to Spack’s full comment on the backfield injuries below.
Podcast: Play in new window
In-depth Interview with Darrelynn Dunn
September 27th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
ISU running back and Bloomington native Darrelynn Dunn gave some insight on his journey to starting for his home town team.
In the interview below Dunn talks about not growing up a big ISU fan, his time at Iowa Central Community College, the luxuries of playing close to home and the team’s goal of winning a national championship.
Podcast: Play in new window
Focused Redbird Sqaud
September 25th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
Normal – The hype is building for the Redbird football team after starting the season with four straight wins. ISU has even received national recognition by being ranked 13 in the Sports Network FCS Poll.
Most teams starting a season this hot could get caught up in all the hype and national recognition. This is not the case for ISU. Redbird coaches and players have had a business like attitude since the beginning of camp. The focus for ISU is the next step, the next challenge, and the next obstacle in their way. The ultimate goal for ISU is not just making the playoffs, but winning a national championship.
Head Coach Brock Spack said he has a group of guys that come prepared to practice and meetings with a will and want to get better. “They seem to be a very focused, ‘ok, what do we got to do today’ kind of group,” Spack said.
Senior safety Ben Ericksen said the Redbirds are keeping their eye on the prize. “We just don’t want to be 4-0. We want to win conference and make it to the playoffs,” Ericksen said.
If any of the players are flying high from the hype, Spack brought them back down to earth today with his comments on the teams play so far. “I think we got a long way to go. The ceiling is pretty high yet and there’s a lot of things we can get better at on all phases of the team,” Spack said.
ISU players share the same mindset as their head coach. In meetings and practice they are focusing on the negatives and how they can improve upon them. Ericksen said, “In the meetings we don’t get so attached to the positive side, we kind of focus on the things we did wrong.”
The Redbirds will hit the practice field this week in preparation for their next challenge, the South Dakota Coyotes. The Coyotes and Redbirds will kickoff this Saturday in South Dakota.
Redbirds Flying High in Polls
September 24th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
The FCS polls were released today, and ISU moved up from 15 to 12 in the Coaches Poll and 13 in the Sports Network Poll.
The No. 12 ranking is ISU’s highest since the ‘Birds ended the 2006 season at No. 8. ISU was able to move up in the polls thanks to their 23-3 victory over conference foe Western Illinois this past Saturday.
ISU is not alone in the top 25. There are four other MVC schools in the polls. North Dakota State is at the top at No. 1, Youngstown State is positioned at No. 3, Northern Iowa is right behind ISU at No. 14 and South Dakota rounds out the list at No. 25.
The Redbirds will continue their tough conference schedule this Saturday on the road at South Dakota State.
September 11th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
Normal– The ISU football team is off to their first 2-0 start since the ’99 season. Although, this stat is on none of the players’ minds heading into their match-up with in-state rival Eastern Illinois this week.
Eastern’s 33-26 upset over the Redbirds in week one of last season came back to haunt ISU come playoff time. Even with a 7-4 record, voters decided to keep ISU out of the playoffs. The Redbirds return 13 starters from last season that remember the EIU game vividly.
The coaches for ISU are also aware of the rivalry between the two schools. Senior defensive end Nate Palmer said, “The coaches really get after us in practice to go out after any opponent, but they really get on us about a rivalry game.”
During the Redbird’s weekly press conference on Tuesday, ISU head coach Brock Spack, and former EIU coach, spoke about what this rivalry means from both sides. “[Eastern Illinois] values it alot down there. It’s really important to them, as it is here,” Spack said. “Rivalry games are fun, but you can’t get caught up in the rivalry. You have to focus on the process.”
When preparing for EIU this week, ISU players will have a business like attitude. They know they can’t afford a let down after a big win on the road. Palmer made note that it doesn’t matter who they play, they’re going to take the same approach. “We know we’re going to take it one game at a time and we’re going to prepare for each opponent day-by-day,” Palmer said.
Saturday’s game will mark the 101st in this storied rivalry. The Redbirds have won the past seven of 10 games against the Panthers, but EIU holds the all-time series lead at 51-40-9.
ISU and EIU will kick things off at 1:00 p.m. at Hancock Stadium this Saturday.
Bird Watch: Redbirds vs. Eagles
September 6th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
The Redbirds did everything right last week against the Dayton Flyers. They will have to do all that and more when they go on the road to face the much tougher Eastern Michigan Saturday.
The Eagles of Eastern Michigan will pose as a much tougher opponent than Dayton. EMU matches up in the size department with ISU at every position. They are also a predominantly running team. EMU will run a lot of three tight-end sets. They use multiple tailbacks, but Senior quarterback Alex Gillett will get the bulk of the carries. Gillett is also an effective quarterback with his arm, so ISU’s defense will have to be on its toes at all times.
EMU plays better when they can run the ball. Last week they fell behind early against Ball State and had to ditch their traditional run game. So it will be important for ISU’s offense to start fast again this week. If ISU can get on the board first, they may force EMU to steer away from their gameplan.
Offensively, the Redbirds will need to open up their playbook more than last week. They ran a lot of quick passes and screens to their wideouts against Dayton. Matt Brown is going to need to stretch the Eagles defense early with some deep passes to open up the ground game for Darrelynn Dunn. Dunn had a big game last week carrying the load for ISU, while punching in three touchdowns. He will be facing a much bigger front line this week and will need to be patient throughout the game.
Defensively, ISU will need to stay in their lanes and not lose contain on Gillett. The athletic quarterback can break lose and go for long gains if given the opportunity. The defensive backs can’t get lulled to sleep with all the run plays. If they let down for one play the Eagles can hit a big play to swing the game. It will also be important for ISU to create some turnovers and get EMU out of rhythm.
Line play will decide Saturday’s game. The defensive line for ISU has to create pressure and keep contain on Gillett. The brand new offensive line will need to control the line of scrimmage and keep Brown upright. If ISU can win the line play, they can win the game and improve to 2-0 on the young season.
Saturday’s game in Ypsilanti, MI, will be a noon start and be a televised event.
Prediction: 20-17 Redbirds prevail.
ISU Hosts Redbird Classic
August 28th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
Normal – This weekend the ISU Women’s volleyball team will host the Redbird Classic at Redbird Arena.
The Redbirds will be coming home to play on Doug Collins court for the first time this season. They will be playing host to Presbyterian, Miami and Oregon State.
Miami is apart of the ACC and was ranked in the top 25 last year. Oregon State is a member of the Pac-12, home of the 2011 champions the UCLA Bruins. So this tournament will be a good tune-up for the Redbirds before they enter a tough conference schedule in the MVC.
ISU’s first game in the Redbird Classic is Friday August 31 against Presbyterian at 6:00 p.m.
Cardinal Court Dedicated
August 9th, 2012 by Tim Van Duyne
Normal – There were a lot of big names in attendance for the dedication of Cardinal Court Thursday morning. So the excitement for the end of a two-year long project was immense.
ISU President Al Bowman, Mayor of Normal Chris Koos and Director of Student Housing Maureen Blair all were in attendance, along with hundreds of residents and family of students who will be living in the new campus apartments.
The planning for this project was collaborative and began in early 2010. The people involved in the planning wanted Cardinal Court to be finished at the same time the Watterson renovations were completed and when South Side was decommissioned.
“So that was all timed to happen at the same time, so when we closed south campus buildings students would be able to pick either Watterson or [Cardinal Court],” Blair said.
Cardinal Court consists of five residential halls and a community center. There are five different floor plans for students to choose from, including a 4×4 plan, which has four private bedrooms and bathrooms. Apartments will be fully furnished. There will be a full kitchen, including a dishwasher, microwave, stove and refrigerator in each apartment. Also, the residential buildings will be completely private and will only be open to residents and their guests. The community center has a cafe, game room and fitness center that the students living in the apartments and their guests may use.
There is an outdoor basketball court located behind the community center. Ample parking will be available as well as plenty of bike racks. Buses will frequently stop in front of the community center. Routes and timing are still being determined by the University Parking Services.
The maximum capacity of residents in Cardinal Court is 894, and right now the apartment complex is filled to capacity. Freshmen will not be allowed to live in Cardinal Court. Right now to live in the new student housing, students must hold at least a sophomore status at the university.
Students will be able to move into their new homes with in the next week, just in time for them to get settled in before classes start on August 20.