EIGHTY PERCENT OF SUCCESS
"The Hawkeye family and Iowa softball took a huge step forward today," said Barta. "Renee Gillispiehas proven she can Win, Graduate, and Do It Right. It is great to have coach Gillispie on the team."
"I am honored to return to the state of Iowa as the head softball coach at the University of Iowa," Gillispie said. "Having the opportunity to take over this program and return it to the championship culture it once had excites me.
"There is a rich tradition of talent in the state of Iowa. Being one of those players, I know how special it was to have the University of Iowa show interest in you. For me, it is being able to recruit these players and get them excited about Iowa, competing for Big Ten championships, and the ultimate goal of returning to the World Series."
Gillispie checks all the boxes: She grew up in Danville, Iowa, and played for a year at Kirkwood before heading to West Texas A&M. She has 28 years of head coaching experience, guiding programs at places as varied as Texas Tech, Bradley and Joliet Community College before heading to Orlando. She built a program from nothing, literally; there was no softball program at UCF before she arrived in 1999, and she is the only coach UCF Softball has ever known. Gillispie took UCF to the NCAA regionals seven times in sixteen years, and Gillispie leaves more than 200 games over .500 with that program. Perhaps most importantly, Gillispie earned an immediate vote of confidence from Gayle Blevins, the program's greatest coach and biggest historical figure:
"Renee is an outstanding selection to lead this program. As an Iowa native, she knows the history of the program, and the importance of this sport in the state of Iowa. She is a proven leader of successful programs, both on the field and in the overall development of her players."
There is a metric ton of not-so-subtle admissions in the UI press release, none more significant than the Blevins quote; that Blevins volunteered a quote to the athletic department at all is important, given that her name and retirement/ouster were frequently mentioned in the same breath as the Tracey Griesbaum scandal. That she focused on Gillispie's understanding of "the importance of this sport in the state of Iowa" turns attention to the biggest issue with Marla Looper: Her refusal to recruit Iowa softball players and failure at building recruiting relationships in the state.
Gillispie has been telling anyone who will listen that she's here to reestablish Iowa as the program of choice for Iowa high school softball players:
Renee Gillispie offered Minnesota all-Big Ten catcher and Ankeny native Kendyl Lindaman a scholarship in the eighth grade, while Iowa never offered Lindaman a scholarship. Gillispie said she wants 80 percent of her roster to be Iowans.
— Pat Harty (@PatHarty) June 11, 2018
Iowa currently has five in-state players on a fourteen-player roster, so getting to eighty percent could be some work. Of course, it's no more work than turning around the win-loss record that Looper posted over the last eight years. We wish her the best on an enormous project.
Two weeks ago, Tyler Cook took his name out of the NBA Draft pool. But that doesn't mean the big guy isn't thinking about his money.
— Tyler Cook (@iamtc25) June 11, 2018
It was clear from the statements made by Cook and his immediate family that he's leaving next year, and there will be some money -- whether dollars or euros or some other foreign currency -- waiting for him when he does. But while the "salary" earned by student athletes -- scholarship money -- pales in comparison to the amounts made by their schools on their labor, a guy like Cook has almost no need for that scholarship when pro money is waiting around the corner. The dude is truly working for free this year. Can't we get him some money when we sell his jersey?
Also, LOL Chicken Dance Kid.
Iowa will play Oregon in the semifinals of the 2K Classic at Madison Square Garden, with the following game dependent on the results and that of Syracuse-UConn on the same day. Iowa will get two games against some low majors at home prior to its trip to New York City.
The schedule is finalized for the 2018 @2KClassic beneifting @wwp. @Cuse_MBB v. @UConnMBB & @OregonMBB v. @IowaHoops at @TheGarden Nov. 15. @EWUMBB @gbphoenixmbb @MSUEaglesMBB & @UMKCmbb round out the field https://t.co/cAOrHxL3Ba pic.twitter.com/ANDExNIV9F
— 2K Classic (@2KClassic) June 11, 2018
As Chad Leistikow points out, we now know 27 of the 31 games on Iowa's schedule next year: 20 conference games, Iowa State, UNI, Oregon, Cuse/UConn, the two additional cupcakes, and Pitt in the B1G/ACC Challenge. We would like to think that at least a couple of those openings will be used on interesting opponents, but it seems far more likely that Directional State will fill the gaps.
ODDS & ENDS
Iowa will face Notre Dame in the Big Ten-ACC women's basketball challenge on November 29. As in, the defending national champions. You want to play Not Pitt in the men's challenge? Win some games.
The NCAA is poised to add three more bowl games in 2020, a move met with the same "HOW DARE A 5-7 TEAM MAKE THE POSTSEASON" vs. "WHY DO YOU NOT WANT MORE FOOTBALL GAMES?" debate that we always have. The bigger news for Iowa fans: One of those three new games will be a Big Ten-ACC bowl game in Chicago.
3 new bowl games in 2020 if NCAA approves Competition Committees recommendations, sources said. That will make 43 bowls (including title game): 84 teams or 65% of all FBS teams will go bowling. Chicago (B1G vs. ACC) & Myrtle Beach will be 2 of new bowls https://t.co/fcxi8GKyeI
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 11, 2018
Ricky Stanzi, now in his second season in the CFL, got some playing time in the Calgary Stampeders' final tune-up game and could be the backup this season. But if you really wanted to live out your mid-aughts quarterback fantasy, get a load of this: The Stamps were trying to sign Drew Tate to compete with Stanzi for that spot. Calgary's regular season starts Friday.
Northwestern landed the commitment of Hunter Johnson, arguably the top quarterback in the 2017 class, who transferred from Clemson. He'll sit this year, and then have three years to prepare for a career in finance.
Former Minnesota coach/local boob Tim Brewster moved to Texas A&M with Jimbo Fisher, and has adopted a summer casual approach to life in College Station. Brew would be low on the list of guys we'd expect to just give up on shaving. Good for him.
The Washington Capitals are acting like they've never been there before, which is how we should all do winning.
— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) June 11, 2018
A guy at an A's game caught two foul balls on consecutive swings.
It's hard enough to catch 1 foul ball.
Imagine catching 2 in the same game on CONSECUTIVE pitches. pic.twitter.com/jFwHWLkZ22
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 10, 2018
And finally, via Mas Casa, it appears that Iowa State cut off its TOE this spring:
Its this many o clock until Iowa State and Iowa meet in Kinnick. pic.twitter.com/CRcB6RyRYU
— Marc Morehouse (@marcmorehouse) June 11, 2018