July 6, 2015

Lewis Central baseball coach hits 800 wins

Lewis Central baseball coach Lee Toole reached a milestone this week. Toole became the 10th coach in Iowa history to reach 800 wins on Tuesday night when his Titans posted an 8-2 victory over Atlantic.

His 34 year career has also included stints at New Hartford and Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson where he won a state championship.

Toole says he has always enjoyed the everyday nature of the sport of baseball.
He says the game of baseball has remained the same between the white lines during his career and the biggest change has been in off season opportunities for players to improve their game.

Toole says despite his lengthy career he maintains a passion for the game, whether it is coaching the games or taking care of the field.

Lewis Central is 19-7 on the season and returns to action at home tonight against Adel ADM.

Des Moines soccer complex hosting Rugby tournament

Cownie-SoccerThe home of the boys and girls state high school soccer tournaments will be hosting a national Rugby tournament in August. The James Cownie Soccer Park will serve as host of the USA Rugby Club 7s National Championship August 8th and 9th.

“This is all brand new to us. This will be our first time we actually get to bring rugby to town,” according to Parks and Recreation Director Ben Page. “In fact, we are meeting with their leadership group to find out what their expectations are, how we can be the best hosts for them.”

Page who says it will be the first time the soccer complex has hosted a Rugby event, but they fields were built to be multipurpose for other events. He says the fields are bigger than normal soccer fields to allow for the change to a rugby field.

Page says they were able to host this event due to a scheduling gap at the complex as he says they have all kinds of soccer events there and it is unusual to have an opening.

Page says they enjoy the challenge of hosting national events as he says the complex was built to be an economic engine for the community.


Radio Iowa/Baseball Coaches Association High School Poll 6/29/15

Class 4A
1. Waukee, LW #2
2. Cedar Rapids Jefferson, LW #4
3. Johnston, LW #1
4. Dowling Catholic, LW #6
5. Cedar Rapids Prairie, LW #8
6. Sioux City East, LW #5
7. Southeast Polk, LW #3
8. Cedar Rapids Kennedy, LW #10
9. Linn-Mar, LW #7
10.Lewis Central, LW (X)

Class 3A
1. Pella, LW #2
2. Waverly-Shell Rock, LW #3
3. Davenport Assumption, LW #1
4. West Delaware, LW #3
5. Knoxville, LW #5
6. Gilbert, LW #6
7. Williamsburg, LW #7
8. Spirit Lake, LW #9
9. Oskaloosa, LW (X)
10.Harlan, LW (X)

Class 2A
1. Cascade, LW #3
2. Wilton, LW #2
3. Dyersville Beckman, LW #1
4. Waterloo Columbus, LW #4
5. South Winneshiek, LW #7
6. Clear Lake, LW #5
7. Hinton, LW #8
8. New Hampton, LW (X)
9. Monticello, LW #9
10.Ogden, LW (X)

Class 1A
1. Mason City Newman, LW #1
2. Van Buren (Keosauqua), LW #2
3. Lisbon, LW #3
4. Pleasantville, LW #5
5. Martensdale-St. Mary’s, LW #6
6. Coon Rapids-Bayard, LW #4
7. Don Bosco, LW #8
8. Exira-EHK, LW #9
9. West Sioux (Hawarden), LW #10
10.LeMars Gehlen, LW (X)

Out-going U-I president Mason praises graduation rates for Hawkeye athletics

Sally Mason

Sally Mason

University of Iowa president Sally Mason has just concluded a three-year run as chair of the Council of Big Ten Conference Presidents and Chancellors,

“One of the things I have greatly appreciated here is that we have a strong focus on academics with our student athletes. We have very, very high graduation rates,” Mason said during an interview with Radio Iowa.

The graduation rate for Hawkeye athletics is higher than Iowa State’s and Northern Iowa’s and is 12 points higher than the national average.

“So from my perspective as I look at the Hawkeyes and what our coaches are doing, I’m pretty pleased,” Mason said.

Mason credits University of Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta with “slowly and methodically” evaluating each sport and bringing in coaches who not only win on the field of play, but ensure their players succeed in the classroom.

“Baseball being the latest example. A new coach there, did a great of recruiting, had an amazing season — haven’t had a season that good in over 30 years — and the best player has decided to come back for his senior year despite the fact that he has a pro opportunity in front of him, too,” Mason said. “That’s what I like about Hawkeye athletes and Hawkeye athletics.”

In addition, Mason points out that Iowa is the only university in the country to have “multiple” Academic All-Americans on its men’s and women’s basketball teams.

“No one was more surprised than me to shake Mike Gesell’s hand at graduation,” Mason said. “In fact, when he came across the stage I said: ‘Mike, you’re graduating!’ And he said: ‘Don’t worry. I’ll be back next year.”

Gesell earned an undergraduate degree in finance this spring with a grade point average of 3.93. He will take graduate-level courses in the fall and spring, during what will be considered his senior season on the Hawkeye basketball team. Mason praised Gesell for opting to stay in college for all four years.

“I’ve been asked about my alma mater Kentucky,” Mason said “I have publicly said that the one-and-done philosophy that like institutions like Kentucky seem to be practicing, especially right now, is not something I would ever aspire to, whether I was in athletics or a university president or whatever it might be. I just don’t see that that should be the student athlete experience.”

Student athletes at another Big Ten school, Northwestern, have filed a lawsuit pressing to be paid. Mason considers that a slippery slope. Mason said student athletes should have the “full cost” of going to college covered, and that includes tuition, books and housing in addition to health insurance and enough money to cover food costs, like a late-night pizza.

“That’s not pay-for-play, though. That’s not making them an employee and paying them a salary,” Mason said. “To me it’s more like: ‘You’ve earned this opportunity and as long as you continue to earn the opportunity, we will make it possible for you to do this with the least possible financial stress on you.'”

Mason is retiring after eight years as leader of the University of Iowa. She took the job in Iowa City after serving as the chief academic officer at Purdue University. Before that, Mason spent 20 years on the faculty at the University of Kansas.

“I thought I’d seen tailgating. I thought I understood fan bases until I got to Hawkeye Land. It’s a whole new experience and it is remarkable on a football Saturday here in Iowa City to see this place transformed. You know, 100,000 people come to town,” Mason said. “We only have room for 72,000 in the stadium, so they’re coming because it’s an event.”

Mason attended her last Big Ten Conference meeting in mid-June. Her last day as University of Iowa president is July 31.

Hawkeye Aaron White drafted by the Washington Wizzards

Aaron White (file photo)

Aaron White (file photo)

The next goal for former Iowa standout Aaron White is to make the roster. White was selected in the second round of the NBA by the Washington Wizards with the 49th selection.

White watched the draft in his native Ohio. “I broke down when I was picked and everybody else in the room broke down…just a culmination of hard work…just amazing,” White said.

The Iowa coaching staff made the trip to Ohio to watch the draft with White and his family. White says it meant the world to him to have the coaches there as the coaching staff is busy, and he says it shows how much they care about him.


NAIA adopting NCAA rule changes for women’s basketball

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is adopting recent changes made to women’s basketball by the NCAA. That includes the new time rule which will feature four 10-minute quarters.

Corey Westra is the Commissioner of the Great Plains Athletic Conference and says they play so many games with other schools that it only made sense for the NAIA to adopt the new rules.

“It’s going to be a big change, especially on the women’s side. I think it will take a little getting used to, especially with the reset on the team fouls after every quarter, but I think after a few games it will be old hat,” Westra says.

Westra says there have always been some different rules between the men’s and women’s game. The NAIA also adopted the new 30-second shot clock on the men’s side. Concordia, Doane, Hastings, Midland and Nebraska Wesleyan are members of the GPAC.


UNI coach has several options to fill in front court

UNI's mascot.

UNI’s mascot.

UNI basketball coach Ben Jacobson says some new faces on the front court will need to step up if the Panthers want to remain contenders in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Panthers must replace 27 points and 15 rebounds along the frontline from the graduated trio of Seth Tuttle, Nate Buss and Marvin Singleton.

Six-seven Klint Carlson, 6-9 Ted Friedman and 6-11 Bennett Koch are all entering their third year with the program. And then they have some younger players with size who have joined the team too.

Jacobson is expecting big things out of Carlson, Friedman and Koch. “All three of those guys have worked very hard, and they’ve been patient, they’ve waited their turn. They bring a lot of different things to the table between the three of them. I’m looking forward to that part,” Jacobson says.