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Messages - Gregory Sager

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Unfortunately, the Saints cut him last week.

North Park:

Returning starter/2 deep player not listed on 2019 Roster:
Starters: OT Justin Williams (sr), RB Jeremiah Madden (so), RB Justice MacNeal Young (jr), DT Patamo Soa (jr)
Backups: WR Brandon Vinson (jr), WR Juan King (Jr), WR Sid Smith IV), OT Jacob Hardie (jr), QB Jason McGovern (So), RB Michael Soracco (so), DT Lubens Jean-Paul, (so), DT Issac Martinez (so), LB Matthew Faufata-Pedrina (fr), LB Yoan Castellanos (jr), LB Ja-Qwayvieous Jone (fr), DB Dacari Sibley (fr) DB Trent Taveres (jr)
Returning Starters: 14
Offense: 6 (10/22 from 2 Deep) QB, 2 WR, 2 OL, TE
Defense: 8 (11/22 from 2 Deep) 2DL, 3 LB, 3 DB

Key Losses: DB David Simmons, OL George Corey
Key Returning Starters: Grant Borsch (jr), WR Woody Corey (Jr), LB Uluao Letuli, DB Gary Anish, DB Dalton McKay

NPU has a new coach (Rooker from Carthage) and loses a lot of their depth despite only having 6 seniors last year as part of their two deep as they had 4 returning starters and 13 backups from the 2 deep not return this season. 40 new freshman come into camp for Rooker, among them he hopes to find a couple running backs as NPU’s top 3 rushers did not return.

I suspect that Melvin Bobo, a transfer from D2 Tuskegee, will supplant incumbent Grant Borsch and start at QB for the Vikings. That will free up North Park superathlete Frank Mauigoa, who is back with the football team after serving in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army last fall and starring for the North Park men's volleyball team last spring (he led Vikings attackers with a .242 kill percentage; he has serious hops to go with his considerable speed). Mauigoa is a good bet to move to wide receiver, where playmakers are badly needed. He is listed as a QB/WR, which tips off this likely move.

At RB I wouldn't be surprised if A.J. Harris, a 5'11, 227 freshman from Hubbard who is listed as a QB, gets moved over to take handoffs rather than snaps. Word has it that he carried three defenders on his back into the end zone in practice yesterday. He's one of 18 Chicagoans on the roster, which is more hometowners than North Park has had in a very, very long time. Eleven of them are freshmen, demonstrating that Kyle Rooker and his all-new staff are not afraid to roll the dice on city kids. You can find great athletes in Chicago prep football, but they're usually very raw in terms of skills development, and they have a very high attrition rate. But, as I say every year, NPU football coaches will always have to look outside the box in order to find CCIW-level talent -- the box, of course, being the Chicago suburbs -- so I'm not going to be the one who tries to convince Kyle and his assistants that city kids like Harold Alexander and Gary Anish are the exceptions rather than the rule. NPU needs to find ballplayers wherever it can, whether that means flying to Samoa, Hawaii, and Florida or taking the bus to some paper-and-glass-strewn Chicago Park District practice field.

The strength of the Vikings is on the defensive side of the ball, where NPU has six seniors who are returning starters: DE Harold Alexander, LB Uluao Letuli, LB Uati Pati, CB Dalton McKay, S Ryan Howson, and S Gary Anish. That's a rare asset for a North Park football team, especially since all six are very solid CCIW football players. Anish was All-CCIW last year and will likely be even better this year, and Letuli, Pati, and McKay each have the potential to grab similar honors in 2019. Alas, the usual m.o. for NPU -- limited returning depth, which once again means lots of freshmen getting on the field in a league that punishes freshmen -- remains in place.

I'm rooting hard for Kyle Rooker to make a bit of noise in his first season as head coach at the Park. As was the case with his two immediate predecessors in the job, Kyle is a very good fit for North Park's Christian culture and is an easy man to root for on a personal level. But my expectations, as always, are modest for the Vikings in this particular sport. I'll gladly take 3-7 if NPU can reach it, which would be an improvement upon last season's 2-8.

Central Region / Re: MBB: College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
« on: August 15, 2019, 04:27:40 pm »
Carroll SID Mike Schulist, who was promoted to serve as CU's senior associate athletic director just last month, was named as Carroll's interim athletic director today. He replaces Jim Hall, who was hired as Carroll's new athletic director less than a year ago.

Dunno, but he definitely has one of the most interesting names in D3 men's basketball.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: The Basketball Tournament
« on: August 09, 2019, 10:27:54 pm »
Not bad for a guy who's, what, about 38 years old or so by now?

Men's soccer / Re: CCIW
« on: August 08, 2019, 11:20:29 am »
I'm not sure about the details of Ericsson's return. But he certainly is a welcome addition. He is a serious difference-maker at this level. Getting him back makes up for the decision of Mattias Warp to change his mind. He will not return to NPU to get his master's degree after all.

The Vikings did suffer a blow this summer when All-CCIW forward Erik Lundeen broke his tibia in a summer league contest. He'll most likely take a medical redshirt for this coming season and will return in 2020 with two years of eligibility left.

First-year head coach Kris Grahn's got the target pinned to his back in this year's preseason poll, to nobody's surprise:

1  North Park  61 (6)
2  Carthage  56 (2)
3  Wheaton  54 (1)
4  Illinois Wesleyan  39
5  Millikin  37
6  North Central  32
7  Elmhurst  18
8  Augustana  16
9  Carroll  11

The unexpected slotting here is North Central. The Cardinals have been the up-and-coming program in the CCIW over the past few seasons, qualifying for three of the last four CCIW tournaments, so it seems strange to see them dropped down to sixth. They do have a new coach in Enzo Fuschino, but his record at UW-Platteville demonstrates that he's a proven commodity at this level.

I'm also a bit surprised that Millikin was picked to finish out of the money. The Big Blue returns a pair of All-CCIW first-teamers in goalkeeper Isaac Hopper and defender Bradyn Nokes as well as perhaps the strongest right leg in the league in Trey Knighton.

Central Region / Re: WBB: College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
« on: August 04, 2019, 09:23:06 am »
Elmhurst has a new Athletic Director :
As a native of Canada, at a minimum, she's probably fairly nice and fairly smart. We'll see if she says "out" or "oat."

It's more like "oot", actually.

North Park doesn't have a new Athletic Director, but something similar :

John Born is sort of athletic-director-plus. He was previously the head men's soccer coach as well as a professor in NPU's School of Business, where he was the guiding force behind the creation of the sports management major. He was reluctant to give that up (and rightly so, since it's the most successful major NPU has added in decades in terms of the number of students in that major), so the NPU administration redesigned the AD job to allow him to continue teaching a course or two each semester and heading up the sports management major within the School of Business while still running the athletic department.

I haven't asked him about it yet, but my deduction is that more of the athletic department's administrative tasks will be handled by the assistant ADs than was the case under Jack Surridge, who had no other responsibilities other than his AD tasks once he gave up his role as head women's basketball coach and hired Amanda Crockett at the start of this decade.

The KEY question (which the press release did not address) is:  is he still ALSO the head soccer coach?  And if not, is Wheaton back to being the undisputed lord and master of CCIW soccer?

You should've kept reading, Chuck, because the day after John Born was promoted to assistant VP for athletics and sports marketing, his right-hand man, associate head coach Kris Grahn, was named as his successor. The NPU men's soccer program isn't going to miss a beat with Kris now running things; he played a very active role in every aspect of the program under John Born, including recruiting.

The Vikings are going to be outstanding on the soccer pitch this season. They return five All-CCIW players, including an All-American who was also the CCIW POY (the only player in league history to ever lead the CCIW simultaneously in goals and assists), plus a former D1 starter is transferring back to NPU after having left the school in order to accept a scholie and play for the University of San Diego. Expectations are sky-high for the Vikings this fall.

Wheaton isn't even the second-best program in CCIW men's soccer at this point. Carthage clearly is.

Central Region / Re: MBB: College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
« on: August 01, 2019, 01:10:23 am »
This is a weird thing for a D3 lifer to admit, but ever since I saw the video of Bo Ryan dancing the Soulja Boy a dozen ago, that's the first thing that's come to mind whenever I read or hear his name.

Perhaps, Greg, you harbor a hidden desire to join Coach Ryan in busting out your Dance Fever like moves, and reveal another side of yourself in addition to your broadcasting talents.  :D

"Dance Fever"?! "Dance Fever"?! Mark, Dance Fever went off the air in 1987. In 1987 Bo Ryan had a .500 career coaching record after three seasons at UW-Platteville, and DeAndre Way, aka Soulja Boy, wasn't even a gleam in his daddy's eye yet.

The new millennium called, Mark, and it says that you're welcome to join it. ;)

If so, that would also explain another factor in choosing NPU over the no-dancing Wheaton  . . .  :)

When Wheaton finally lifted its ban on dancing sixteen years ago, there were a lot of long faces at NPU. For 33 years, ever since North Park had lifted its own ban on dancing in 1970, North Park students had made hay with Wheaton's dancing ban. Every men's basketball game against Wheaton, win or lose, inevitably ended with a "Let's go dancing! [clap, clap, clap-clap-clap]" chant from the Vikings faithful, and back in the '80s and even into the '90s it was commonplace for the North Park student section to break into an a capella rendition of "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats when Wheaton was the opponent at hand.

That all came crashing to a halt when the Wheaton administration had a change of heart and gave its blessing for the Wheaties to wapoo, crunk, yeet, mosh, or (much more likely) bust a move. The bright side is that it's made Foster's Finest (NPU's soccer student section, since it's very much a soccer > basketball situation at the Park in this era) much more creative in terms of how they taunt that much-despised school from DuPage County that has the orange-clad (and dancing-enabled) athletes.

This is a weird thing for a D3 lifer to admit, but ever since I saw the video of Bo Ryan dancing the Soulja Boy a dozen ago, that's the first thing that's come to mind whenever I read or hear his name.

Here's some offseason content for CCIW basketball fans.

Thanks to Greg Sager for some very helpful insight that helped me prepare for my interviews with Harper and Coach Djurickovic. I enjoyed speaking with both of them.

Thank you for a great interview, Gordon. It's always wonderful to hear Harps' voice again, as we don't see him often enough back here in Chicago. He's a larger-than-life character (literally as well as figuratively), and as you said he's a straight shooter and a really funny guy.

(Classic Michael Harper interview story: When I called my very first men's basketball game as North Park's broadcaster a decade ago, Harps happened to be in town to see his family. So NPU head coach Paul Brenegan talked Harps into coming to the game to give a pregame speech to the Vikings in the locker room, and I talked him into coming up to the top of the bleachers at halftime so that I could interview him. I thought that I had pulled off a major coup for my first-ever game as "the Voice of the Vikings", but five minutes into the interview Michael's cell phone rang. It was one of my classmates, who had played on the JV team as a freshman (Michael's senior year) and then had transferred out. He was watching the game online, heard that I was going to interview Michael Harper at the half, and had called up a mutual acquaintance and gotten Michael's cell phone number -- and then called him in the middle of our interview. They hadn't spoken to each other since 1980, so Harps, being his usual gregarious self, forgot that he was being interviewed on the air and immediately had to catch up on the last thirty years with his former teammate ... while I sat there holding the microphone, listening to one end of their conversation and watching my interview go down the drain.)

From the story...

“When I went on campus, they were the nicest people and it was one of the first times I went to school with girls and they were really pretty, so I was like, ‘I guess this is the place to be,’” Harper recalls.

Sure, it's a shock when you go from an all-male high school of future Catholic priests to a coed college, but Harps was not exaggerating about the really pretty girls. Back in the day, when a very high percentage of North Park's resident undergrad population still consisted of students whose ethnic background was Swedish-American, the NPC campus was chock-full of amazingly good-looking young people. The reputation that people of Swedish heritage have for being physically attractive is not a myth. In the early '80s, back when the Chicago Tribune used to include a glossy publication called Tribune Magazine in the paper's Sunday edition, there was a cover story in one edition about the school, entitled "We Are North Park". The writer spent an entire paragraph talking about what extraordinarily photogenic students North Park had.

A couple of former Vikings assistant football coaches have told me that, given NPC's dismal football tradition and the school's terrible and antiquated weight room in the pre-Helwig Rec Center days, they felt that their best shot at landing recruits was to bring prospects over to the dining hall to let them see all of those pretty girls Harps talked about. I can remember numerous occasions in which I'd look up from the table at dinner and I'd see a knot of teenaged gridders standing in the doorway with mouths agape.

Of course, that recruiting ploy rarely worked. And when it did, those football players would arrive on campus the next year only to discover that they'd been sold a bill of goods; football players were regarded as pariahs at North Park, and virtually none of those pretty girls would give them the time of day. Hard to say whether that empty-pockets-in-the-candy-store snub or the relentless 59-0 bruisings at the hands of Augustana and Millikin and the like had the bigger effect upon NPC's awful football-roster retention.

The comely-coed situation is not the reason why I chose North Park over Wheaton (my other serious finalist for college) when I was a high school senior, but it certainly didn't hurt. ;)

The Titans have had a schedule change for '19-20. Instead of playing in Phoenix over the holidays they are heading to Austin, TX for Concordia Classic.  IWU will face Concordia (TX) and Sul Ross State.

All that debate over the floor at the Phhacility was for naught.

It'll come up again if that place keeps hosting a D3 tourney. We can just paste in the last argument when it does.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: Conference changes
« on: July 13, 2019, 10:50:39 am »


Provisional Pipeline for 2019-2020
First year full members: (presume Belhaven)
*4th year provisional members: (presume none)
*3rd year provisional members:  (presume Brevard, Dean, Pfeiffer)
2nd year provisional members: (presume SUNY-Delhi, Johnson and Wales (Col.))
1st year provisional members: Pratt, University of St Thomas (TX), Mississippi University for Women.
Exploratory: Bob Jones, Warren Wilson; Lindenwood-Belleville was initially listed in this group, but announced it is ending most undergraduate programs after 2019-20.
*Games against Year 3 and 4 provisional members count the same as games against full-members for regional-ranking and tournament selection purposes

Conference Changes Starting in 2019-2020
Alfred State leaves the ACAA for the AMCC
UC-Santa Cruz joins the ACAA
Frostburg State leaves D3 for D2
Manhattanville leaves the MACF for the SKY
New Rochelle (IND) closes
Newbury (NECC) closes
Penn State-Harrisburg leaves the CAC for a return to the NEAC
Southern Vermont (NECC) closes
Staten Island leaves D3 for D2 (plays full D3 schedule. Not eligible for post-season)
Stevens leaves the E8 for the MACF
St. Elizabeth leaves the NEAC for the CSAC
SUNY-Delhi joins the NAC
Texas-Tyler leaves D3 for D2
Thomas More leaves D3 for the NAIA

Side note: Simmons discontinues its women's program

Conference Changes Starting in 2020-2021
Arcadia shifts from the MAC Commonwealth to the MAC Freedom
Eastern shifts from the MAC Freedom to the MAC Commonwealth
Franciscan leaves the AMCC for the Presidents' Athletic Conference
Keuka leaves the NEAC for the E8
Lycoming shifts from the MAC Commonwealth to the MAC Freedom
St. Norbert leaves the MWC for the NACC
Suffolk leaves the GNAC for the CCC
Valley Forge leaves the ACAA for the CSAC
York (Pa.) leaves the CAC for the MAC Commonwealth

Conference Changes Starting in 2021-2022
St. Thomas involuntarily removed from MIAC, will go to ???

This was just announced on Thursday.

Multi-Regional Topics / Re: MBB: University Athletic Association
« on: June 30, 2019, 08:33:43 am »
UChicago has a great gym if you have never been. Plus, you may be able to watch Illinois Wesleyan at Lake Forest, Olivet at Wheaton College, Concordia Wisconsin at Dominican, Fontbonne at North Park, Aurora/Finlandia/Aurora at Carthage and Rose-Hulman at North Central (Monday).

Fontbonne isn't playing at North Park. It's playing North Park in Moody Bible Institute's famed Solheim Gym, the most famous gym in the NBA that isn't actually home to an NBA team.

Lucas, it's insidious that your link takes readers back to the first page of The BeltTM's board on

There will be employers who won't get a full day's work out of their employees today, thanks to you.

There will probably also be some employees who get caught laughing out loud in their cubicles.

IWU grad Jack Sikma ('77) will throw out the first pitch at Wrigley today, and Wayne Messmer ('72) will sing the national anthem.

The Cubs are getting their brains bashed in today by the Mets.

New rule: Other than Wayne Messmer, the only CCIW grad allowed on the field on the day of a home game at Wrigley is Jim Oboikowich.


Bosko Djurickovic has connected with Fillip Bulatovic who has committed to Carthage.
Fillip is a 6’4” SF from Maine South in Park Ridge. He is a very good player who averaged;
16.3 PPG
  6.3 RPG
  1.9 APG

With a name like that, I'd be surprised if he picked any other school.

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