"My rule was I wouldn't recruit a kid if he had grass in front of his house.
That's not my world. My world was a cracked sidewalk." —Al McGuire

Thursday, June 30, 2005

It's official...we're IN!!

For complete Big East information, visit them at www.bigeast.org

Fraschilla and family in town to sign on with Marquette?

As we have hinted for some time, something big could be happening on the Marquette coaching front and the news has been breaking semi-officially in the papers today. Nothing is a "done deal" but we believe where there is smoke there is fire.

"Fraschilla, a college basketball analyst for ESPN, could be hired and in place as early as Friday, a source close to the situation confirmed Wednesday night. He's expected to arrive in Milwaukee with his family tonight to finalize the deal."
Todd Rosiak's column on Fran Frascilla possibly joining the coaching staff can be found here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Todd Townsend...using basketball for the right purpose

A terrific article in today's Chicago Tribune on Todd Townsend and how he has used basketball for the right purpose. Todd had a very challenging upbringing to put it mildly. A great article worth your time.

Here is the link.

After Strohm resignation, Crean sets sites on Fran Fraschilla

Former New Mexico and St. John's University Head Coach is rumored to be Jeff Strohm's replacement at Marquette University. Strohm resigned earlier today and Fraschilla currently is employed by ESPN as a college basketball analyst.

A more detailed account can be found here by Gregg Doyle at CBS Sportsline

Fraschilla's biography can be found here on Hit, Run Score.

Assistant Coach Jeff Strohm resigns


MILWAUKEE, June 29 – Marquette assistant basketball coach Jeff Strohm will resign from his position to pursue other basketball opportunities, head coach Tom Crean announced today.

“Jeff is moving on from Marquette to pursue other opportunities in basketball and we fully support this decision,” said Crean. “We appreciate his efforts for Marquette during his three years.”

Strohm joined the Golden Eagles’ staff in 2002 following a five-year stint at the University of Utah.

“I’m very thankful to have worked in a program like Marquette,” said Strohm. “Marquette has been a great place for me to work, and the Marquette family has been wonderful to me and my family.”

A 16-year veteran at the collegiate level, Strohm was an assistant coach at Northern Illinois from 1991-97. Prior to his time at Northern Illinois, Strohm was the recruiting coordinator for Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill., from 1989-91. He got his start in coaching at the prep ranks as an assistant at Casey Westfield High School (1987-88 ) and Sullivan High School (1988-89 ).

The search for a new assistant will begin immediately.

“We are focused on putting together the best staff possible and will move rapidly in that direction,” said Crean.

The Marquette Golden Eagles

After more than a year of active consideration, speedbumps, aborted processes, and unprecedented national interest, Marquette University has officially adopted Golden Eagles as its nickname. The Marquette community, some 100K eligible voters, recently completed two rounds of voting to select a nickname. The vote, which was administered by Advantage Research, left little doubt with Golden Eagles easily outdistancing the other finalist, Hilltoppers, 54% to 46%.

Also of note, Marquette released all of the voting data from the two rounds -- including write-in votes for Warriors. During the first round, 5,587 write-in votes were cast (18% of the vote) including 3,264 for Warriors (10% of vote). Golden Eagles led the initial round of voting with 39% of the vote, followed by Hilltoppers with 30%. Golden Avalanche secured 16% of the vote, followed by Golden Knights and Explorers at 12% each.

Interestingly, in the final round of voting Golden Eagles was the overwhelming choice of every MU community except alums. Students voted for Golden Eagles by a margin of 64% to 36%. Alums favored Hilltoppers by a margin of only 2%. Here is the link to the pdf file with the exhaustive voting details.

Kudos to the BOT and the Administration for ensuring transparency in this voting process. It would have been easy to bury the preliminary information, but by releasing all of the results MU did the right thing. While 'Gold' was a disaster, MU finished strongly with the voting process, in particular because MU did not rely on in-house resources.

You can check out all of the info at the MU news site here.

Media Coverage:
- Here is the Associated Press story on the nickname.
- Don Walker of the Journal-Sentinel reports on the news here.

Fr. Wild's email:
Dear Members of the Marquette Community,

I am pleased to announce that our athletics nickname effective July 1st will be the Golden Eagles. This decision was made by you, the Marquette community, through the “MU Voice” voting process. I want to thank all of you who participated in “MU Voice” for taking the time to vote for the nickname that we will use as we enter the Big East Conference on July 1st.

The name Golden Eagles has a proud association in Marquette’s history since it was our name from 1994 to the present. I am pleased that this tradition will continue in the Big East Conference, one of the most prestigious and competitive conferences in the nation. The Big East is also known for the academic quality of its student-athletes, and our Marquette student-athletes will be no exception. They excel both in the classroom and in athletic competition.

Ultimately, more than one-third of the Marquette community eligible to vote participated in either phase one or phase two of the voting process, with 35,777 total individuals casting votes. Thank you for your passion and enthusiasm for Marquette University. Your dedication is vital to ensuring our future progress and success.

Let me also thank Advantage Research, Inc. the independent firm that administered “MU Voice,” for creating and executing an honest, fair and scientific process. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the work of the Nickname Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from the Marquette community, for ensuring the integrity and transparency of this process.

For additional information about our athletics nickname, including press releases and voting results, please visit http://www.marquette.edu/nickname.

Of course, we know that Marquette is first and foremost an academic institution committed to educating men and women to be a leaven for good in our society. We must not lose sight of this important mission rooted in our 450-year Jesuit tradition. Thank you for your care and concern and for the pride we share in the values of this wonderful university.

We Are Marquette!

Sincerely, Robert A. Wild, S.J.

Travis Diener selected by Orlando Magic 2nd round

Travis Diener, the All-American point guard from Marquette was selected in the second round with the 38th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft by the Orlando Magic. Congratulations to Travis.

Diener is the 49th Marquette player drafted into the NBA and the second under head coach Tom Crean in the last three years.

Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel states that "Magic make Diener toast of the town" in his article linked here.

The Orlando Sentinel offers it's point of view from Diener's new home of Orlando, Fla in this article by Brian Schmitz.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Nickname to be announced on Wednesday

The university has indicated this Wednesday will be the day we find out if it's out with the old and in with the older or keeping the nickname that the recent survey by the university indicated fans and alums were unexcited about.

This Friday, Marquette officially joins the Big East Conference.

Travis Diener Looks to the NBA

With the NBA Draft just a day away, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel takes a look at Travis Diener's situation. The Marquette graduate could be a second-round pick in the draft, perhaps landing up with the hometown Bucks (who are in a bind with TJ Ford's uncertain future).

Friday, June 24, 2005

Nickname Voting Ends Tonight

MU will announce the results next week, in advance of formally joining the Big East conference.

Here's the link to MU's Nickname site for more info.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Travis Diener's NBA Draft Preparation

The NBA draft is just a few days away, and Marquette graduate Travis Diener is working hard to secure a job in the league. Earlier today, ESPN.com launched a series which will track Travis' workouts and pre-draft preparation - - it should run right up through the draft.

Diener has helped his draft stock dramatically in the last few weeks, highlighted by a strong performance in the Chicago pre-draft camp. Per the site today, he's already completed individual workouts with New York, New Jersey, the Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Kings, Portland, Utah, and Milwaukee.

There has to be a place on an NBA roster for Travis Diener. Perhaps the Bucks remember other gaffes with Wisconsin natives (such as choosing Steve Henson over Tony Smith, and passing on Terry Porter) and give TD a shot.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Recruiting Updates: Bryce Webster, Marquette Elite Camp

Mark Miller of the Wisconsin Basketball Yearbook penned a terrific recap of the Marquette Elite Camp held at The Al last weekend. Mark has updates on Jerel McNeal, Anthony Green, Paul Bayer, Dwight Burke, Scott Christopherson and many others. Check it out here.

John Dodds' Marquette Hoops site over at Scout.com reports that top MU target Bryce Webster has eliminated Kansas from his list of suitors. Webster is now down to MU, Minnesota, Notre Dame and Boston College. Bryce indicates that he'll make a decision in the fall, after he completes official visits to Notre Dame and Betting Central.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Midwestern preps choose Big East over Big State in increasing numbers

Milwaukee area prep standout Jerry Smith has given Rick Pitino and Louisville a verbal commitment over Wisconsin, Wake Forest and Tennessee

The announcement of the one-time Marquette recruiting target provides a continuation of the trend of some of the best players in the Midwest choosing to take their game to the Big East rather than the big-state-U in their home locale.

When recruits of the caliber of Smith choose a Big East school (even if its an MU rival) over an in-state Big Ten school, it reiterates the value of MU's Big East affiliation:

"It was a very difficult decision for our family to choose Louisville over Wisconsin. But Jerry wanted to go play in the Big East."

Smith Sr. said the family spent hours pondering the decision but it ultimately came down to the Big East.

Quality midwestern preps in healthy numbers are choosing Big East programs over their Big Eleven counterparts. Smith and Wes Matthews out of Wisconsin to UL and Marquette respectively. Luke Zellar to ND and Dominic James to Marquette out of Indiana. Eric Devendorf to Syracuse and Wilson Chandler to DePaul--both out of Michigan. Jerel McNeal out of Illinois to Marquette. Just to name a few.

Welcome to the league, Mr. Smith. And thanks for the endorsement of the Big East.

"Hoop Dreams" ... one decade later

My how time flies...earlier this summer, the DVD of the acclaimed documentary Hoop Dreams was released, and now there's talk of doing a followup documentary on the lives of William Gates and Arthur Agee.

Carol Slezak of the Chicago Sun-Times offers a nifty column on Gates and Agee this morning. It's good to get in the wayback machine once in a while - - and it seems that Will and Arthur are doing well.

By the way, a little bit of Hoop Dreams trivia is in order.......remember the scene where Will Gates visits the Bradley Center for the first time and his name is announced over the loudspeaker (a faux play-by-play, in a sense)? The PA announcer was none other than Pat Hughes, the current radio voice of the Chicago Cubs (and owner of a mean set-shot off the glass -- Pat plays a mean game of H-O-R-S-E).

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Dominic James Preps for All-Star Schedule

With high school now a memory, Marquette signee Dominic James is preparing for a series of notable all-star games. The first game is later today in Washington, Indiana. James and his teammates will continue the schedule next week with games in both Indianapolis and Bowling Green, Kentucky.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Mascot Madness Goes Beyond Marquette

Kudos to Kavita Kumar at the St. Louis Post Dispatch for putting her wide-angle journalistic lens to use in evaluating mascot issues from universities around the country.

Per Kumar's reporting, "School nicknames and mascots have been getting closer looks across the country in the last decade in an era of increased sensitivity to issues such as race and gender. As a result, many names and symbols are being de-gendered, de-ethnicized, and de-offensified in the hopes of not excluding or insulting anyone."

This kind of national perspective is refreshing from a major metropolitan newspaper. Kumar consciously avoided avoided the regurgitation of predictable local commentary, and instead relied on insights from a range experts and other participants in various mascot debates from around the country.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Al McGuire On Stage

Dick Enberg's much anticipated debut as a playwright was realized as "McGuire" debuted recently at Marquette's Helfaer Theater. Enberg, a long-time broadcast partner with the late Al McGuire, penned this one-man show about the charismatic Marquette coach soon after his death. Here are a few articles detailing the project.

Seashells and balloons, folks.

Quick Review from an MU fan over at the Rivals site.

USA Today

Chicago Sun-Times

L.A. Daily News

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

More on Mason

This from LSUSports.net

Bo Ellis: Remember him for his Loyalty

There is an extensive article and tribute on the Marquette tenure of Bo Ellis on on Scout.com's Marquette Hoops site.

From the artcile comes this paragraph--perhaps the best summary I've seen of his legacy:
"Bo Ellis has certainly seen Marquette grow through four different decades. He has seen the highs and the lows of our program. But his quiet demeanor and his work ethic have been steady throughout his career. Ellis seeks not the spotlight but the opportunity to help others behind the scenes. He wishes that people remember him for his loyalty"

The Great Nickname Debate

Based on these interpetations of a Golden Eagle and a Hilltopper, which nickname has more appeal?

Hubba Hubba!

Dameon Mason transferring to LSU

According to Brian Stinnette of Chicagohoops.com, Dameon Mason will transfer from Marquette to LSU. http://www.chicagohoops.com/articles1/masoncommits.html

Dameon will sit out the NCAA mandated year and will compete for the Tigers in 2006. We wish Dameon a successful career in Baton Rouge.

News Update: Nickname Finalists

Here's a quick look at a few of the articles on the nickname finalists.

- The Associated Press writes a matter-of-fact article.
- The Journal-Sentinel chimes in with local community reaction.
- Dan Walker from the Journal-Sentinel covers the news.
- The Chicago Tribune runs through MU's nickname history.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Golden Eagles and Hilltoppers Move On to Final Round

Here is the official MU news release:

Golden Eagles and Hilltoppers Move On to Final Round of “MU Voice” Nickname Voting Beginning Today

MILWAUKEE – Marquette University students, alumni, faculty, staff and other members of the Marquette community have completed voting in the first round of the “MU Voice” nickname selection process, and the final two nickname options for the second round of voting will be Golden Eagles and Hilltoppers. The second round of voting opens today, June 7, and runs through Friday, June 24, at 9 p.m.

The response to the first vote, open from Tuesday, May 24, through Sunday, June 5, was enthusiastic, with 31,501 voters participating in the survey and casting 48,688 total votes. This accounts for nearly 30 percent of the total eligible voting population of approximately 105,500 people and is more than three times the participation rate in the November 2004 nickname survey.

Marquette will provide detailed information about the first vote after the entire process is completed, including the number of votes cast for each individual nickname option and the number of write-in votes. It was mutually agreed between Marquette and Advantage Research Inc, the independent research firm conducting the poll, that information from the first poll will be released after the second poll has been completed so as not to introduce bias into the second vote.

“Advantage Research Inc. certifies that the two nicknames presented in the second poll received the most votes in the nickname poll conducted from May 24 through June 5, 2005. As mutually agreed upon, the details from the first vote will be held by Advantage Research until the entire voting process is completed,” said Scott Segrin, vice president of operations, Advantage Research Inc.

Two new developments in the voting process:
In response to the unprecedented participation in the first vote and in anticipation of a large turnout for the second vote, Marquette will extend the second round of voting for five days longer than originally announced.

Incoming students as well as donors to the university in the last fiscal year were added to the voting pool during the first vote in order to allow as many members of the Marquette community as possible to participate in the “MU Voice” nickname selection process.

For more information or voting instructions, please visit www.marquette.edu/nickname.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Marquette benches their opponents...finally

We can report to you today that Marquette has decided to switch their benches so that opposing teams will now shoot into the student section in the second half of games as most schools layout their configuration. We believe this is a very good move and one that probably needed to be done years ago. The opportunity probably presented itself this year due to the re-seating points based system. If we were to guess, this would allow the Athletic Department to tell individual season ticket holders when they come in to pick their seats how the new arrangement will be laid out.

Basically, the two benches will flip flop so the opposing teams are now closer to our band and the students. The opposing teams will have to shoot their free throws in the second half against the sea of gold.

Good move Marquette!

Unusual Politics With MU Nickname

As Dale Hofmann approaches retirement this Summer, he continues to write about the Marquette nickname. This makes article number four on the Marquette nickname in the last 31 days for Dale. One has to wonder what he will do in his retirement when he doesn't have the opportunity to rip on Marquette's non-conference schedule (a schedule required in large part becase we do not have a $60 million budget..or even a $20 million budget like a certain "other" schools in the state) or anything else Marquette. However, I digress as Dale is certainly winding down that gold watch of his and it cannot go quickly enough.

To read his latest click here.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Bayer visit goes well

Paul Bayer took his official visit to Marquette this past week, and it apparently went very well. There is an extensive article on Bayer's visit, as well as other good info on his recruitment process on Scout.com's Marquette Hoops site. Bayer is a class of 2006 three-point gunner from Moline, IL.

Here is the article.

Friday, June 03, 2005

'Gold' alternatives panned

Read comments in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal from MU luminaries Matthew Lesko, Terry McQuade, Barbara Thompson, Mike Gonring, Hank Raymonds, and Jamie Dyckes and current students Kate Roberts and Stephanie Podkowinski.

The J/S covers the full range range of thought on the issue

Hank Raymonds, Marquette's former basketball coach and athletic director, said he won't even cast a ballot "because I'm a Warrior."

On the other hand Freshman Kate Roberts bucked the survey findings that Golden Eagles was weak and uninspired, "I went back to Golden Eagles because there was no reason to change it. I think it's a strong name."

Golden Knights got a vote from Jamie Dyckes, a Marquette alumnus and former assistant athletic director. He said he wrote in Warriors with his other vote. "If a Golden Knight is not a Warrior," said a defiant Dyckes, "I don't what is."

But the most hopeful comment for the future comes from Hank Raymonds:
"Whatever they do, I imagine it will turn out all right."

Final 2004-2005 NCAA attendance: MU is #21

MU comes in at #21 nationally, with 11,965 per game (21 home games). MU was fourth in attendance for the combined Big East, trailing Syracuse, Louisville and UConn. Syracuse led the nation in attendance. Here is the PDF link.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Nickname voting update

Marquette University and Advantage Research (the firm conducting the voting process for a new nickname) today revealed that more than 22,000 votes already have been cast in the first round of nickname voting. Per the MJS, this is more than twice the number of folks who completed the nickname survey last fall.


That number is extraordinary -- that's roughly 20% of the eligible voting population for MU, which greatly exceeds any reasonable expectations, and must be far more than the average response rate for similar surveys/votes.

Anyway, folks have until Sunday, June 5 to vote in this round (Advantage Research will staff phone banks through the weekend)....and on June 7, the final round of voting will open.

Flight of the Phoenix

Brian Wardle will be announced as the new assistant basketball coach at UW-Green Bay later today according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Wardle will join former MU teammate Jon Harris on head coach Tod Kowalczyk's staff up in Green Bay. MU has not announced a replacement for Wardle, who served as MU's director of basketball operations.

Good luck, Brian!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mike DeCourcy Breaks Down the New Big East

In yesterday's column, TSN's Mike DeCourcy examined four key issues for the new Big East Conference: Big East tournament tickets, the tournament field, scheduling, NCAA bids.

On the point of scheduling, DeCourcy notes that we're waiting on television partners to decide: "The identity of the repeat opponents has not been determined because TV folks will have a considerable influence. The networks would like to wait until college rosters are safe at last from the NBA draft."