Retiring football coach Jerry Kill remembered as one of the ‘good guys’

By Jordan Ray

Several years ago, a young college quarterback was walking through the football facility at Northern Illinois University, when his head coach stopped him.

“What have you done today to get better?” the coach asked.

“Uh…uh…you know, I’m not really sure, Coach. I lifted?” the quarterback responded, caught off guard and a little in awe of his coach’s presence.

“You’re either getting better,” the coach said, “or you’re getting worse. Every single day. You’re never staying the same.”

It’s the moment former Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish said he’ll never forget when he thinks back on his time with recently retired coach Jerry Kill.

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Video: Food truck pays tribute to the Negro Leagues with soul food

By Lena Blietz

The Chicago American Giants disbanded in the 1950s, but Negro Leagues baseball can be seen around Chicago in a traveling tribute.

The Southern Pitch Food Truck honors the legacy of pre-integration baseball with a vehicle wrapped in images of former star players serving soul food named after them.

Above: Lena Blietz of Medill Reports explores the story of the Southern Pitch Food Truck and its homage to the Negro Leagues.

Co-founder, manager and chef Donald Curry, 45, discovered his love for the Negro Leagues while attending Virginia State University. He said he initially bought Negro Leagues baseball hats “just to be different from the other guys on campus.”

Curry’s truck travels around the Loop serving traditional southern comfort food. The food is named after stars such as Willie Mays, Satchel Paige, Effa Manley and Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe.

Curry said he hopes to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, called the Negro League Cafe in fall 2016 with his cousin. He previously had a restaurant in Chicago, with the same name, but closed it in 2009.

For a full menu, visit or find the truck’s location on its Facebook page.

PHOTO AT TOP: Donald Curry, the co-founder, manager and chef of Southern Pitch Food Truck, stands in front of his vehicle. (Lena Blietz/Medill)

Medical plans take first place when athletes compete on the world stage

By Colette House

Dr. Craig Young and the volunteer medical staff at 2015 Progressive Skate America competition hoped they wouldn’t have many patients  over the weekend.

Their whole goal was to stand rink side in Milwaukee, enjoy the figure skating competition unfolding before them, and not need to treat any serious injuries.

“We hope that nobody is sick enough that they need us because, obviously, if they’re sick, they can’t do their best at competition,” said Dr. Craig Young, chief medical officer at 2015 Progressive Skate America, which took place last weekend at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panther arena.

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NU men’s basketball freshmen add depth, talent … hope (Video)

By Benji Cohen

Northwestern’s three freshmen are expected to have an immediate impact on the men’s basketball team.

Chris Collins plans to include Aaron Falzon, Jordan Nash and Derek Pardon as part of a 10-man rotation that can give the third-year coach the depth he lacked in his first two seasons.

Coming off back-to-back 6-12 finishes in the Big Ten, tied for 10th both times, Collins sees three players with different strengths. Together, he said, Tuesday at the team’s Media Day, the three comprise the most talented freshmen class he’s had in Evanston.

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Video: Northwestern’s Chris Collins ‘upset’ by death of mentor Flip Saunders

By Lena Blietz

Chris Collins said he “really got upset” when he learned that longtime mentor, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders had died.

The Northwestern men’s basketball coach briefly played for Saunders when Collins attended Timberwolves training camp after college. Despite being cut, Collins and Saunders remained close throughout their coaching careers. Collins credits Saunders with teaching him some of his coaching techniques.

Collins remembers Saunders as a person who truly loved teaching and coaching the game, and refused to let the little annoyances get in his way. Saunders died from  Hodgkin’s lymphoma on Sunday.

Collins’ other mentors include his father, former Chicago Bulls coach Doug Collins; Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski; and Harvard coach Tommy Amaker.

At the Northwestern Basketball Media Day in Evanston on Tuesday, Collins and some of his players talked about the mentors and other influential people in their lives.

Northwestern’s Chris Collins talks at Northwestern Basketball Media Day on Oct. 27. (Lena Blietz/Medill)

Bulls-Cavaliers season opener: What you need to know before tip-off

By Shane Monaghan


he Fred Hoiberg era begins tonight, as the Bulls take on the Cleveland Cavaliers in the regular season opener.

Joakim Noah is pumped. There are even rumors of an apperance by President Obama.

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Isaac scores on 2 kick returns in Loyola win over Mount Carmel

By Maddie Lee

Mount Carmel had just tied the game 7-7 when Loyola Academy kick returner Jonah Isaac caught the ball at the edge of the end zone. He saw his hole open up. He darted through it. He flew.


“It was unreal,” said Isaac.

With less than two minutes left in the first half, the senior did it again. After Mount Carmel pulled within a touchdown of Loyola, Isaac scored on a 97-yard kick return. Loyola led 28-14 at halftime en route to a  49-21 home victory Saturday. The Ramblers finished the conference season undefeated.
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Cubs’ postseason run not all fun and games for South Side bar

Story by Shane Monaghan
Video by Lena Blietz

Before the final Cubs game of the season, McNally’s bartender Amanda Stratton said she was ready for the frenzy surrounding the bar’s controversial signage to be over.

“We had to take the phone off the hook for nearly a week because we were receiving so many calls,” Stratton, a manager at the Morgan Park bar, said Wednesday afternoon before the final game of the National League Championship Series between the Cubs and the New York Mets. “I am ready for it all to go away.”

McNally’s Irish pub drew the ire of many Cubs fans throughout the team’s postseason run for openly displaying anti-Cubs sentiment. Continue reading

Despite security, crimes occur along Chicago Marathon route

By Kayla Daugherty

Security was exceptionally tight along the Chicago Marathon route on Oct. 11 thanks to the combined efforts of the FBI, Illinois State and Chicago Police Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service.

Despite the heightened security, crimes still occurred along the route and in neighboring areas.

There were 24 crimes along the route between midnight Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, the most common of which was theft from retailers and buildings, followed by battery (mostly domestic battery). There were single incidents of deceptive practice, narcotics, robbery and a liquor law violation. Continue reading

Mark made at Evanston, Michigan State next for Naquan Jones to tackle

By Brooke Rayford

Evanston Township’s senior defensive tackle, Naquan Jones, is looking forward to his 2016-2017 football season. Growing up in a Big-Ten town, Michigan State has always been the school of his dreams.

Jones said being a committed prospect will not keep him from finishing hard his senior season.

“When you’ve committed, you’re held to a higher standard … people know about you, that kind of puts more pressure on you and coaches expect more from you. So I just want to go out there and play as hard as I can, that is what pushes me to play as well as I do,” Jones said.

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