First-year UWGB head coach Linc Darner is installing the same system here as he ran with last year’s NCAA D-II men’s basketball champions at Florida Southern. He talked about that in his preseason interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel… and he also talked about his familiarity with the rich history of Phoenix hoops, defense and Dick and Tony Bennett.
The University of Illinois has fired athletic director Mike Thomas prior to releasing the final report of its investigation into alleged mistreatment of football and women’s basketball players. The report also determined that accusations of racial bias by seven former women’s basketball players against coach Matt Bollant — who took the Illini coaching reigns a year after leading the UWGB Phoenix to a Sweet 16 berth — were unfounded. Assistant Mike Divilbiss, also formerly of Green Bay, quit after accusations were made against him. (Those, too, were not substantiated by the school’s review.)
Rick Riehl, one of 78 members of UW-Green Bay’s original, June 1970 graduating class, was in his glory revisiting old times with classmates at the Alumni Days event at Shorewood Clubhouse on Sept. 2. Just a month later, he was diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, an extremely rare, degenerative and invariably fatal brain disorder. Riehl, a retired English teacher and multi-sport coach at West Bend East High School and a pillar of the community, is described this way by his local newspaper’s sports editor: “…If you went to East or played sports, at some point he entered your life. There’s not a whole lot of people who can say they had an impact on an entire city like he has.” A member of Lou LeCalsey’s first soccer team at UWGB, in his second career Riehl most recently served as Concordia University Wisconsin’s sports information director. On Saturday, Concordia will dedicate the football press box at Tomasini Field in his name. Riehl, his health and memory rapidly fading, will be there for the honor. Gary D’Amato of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel has a deeply moving and inspirational feature story about Riehl online.
Former De Pere H.S. women’s swim coach Tara Dowling has joined the Green Bay swimming and diving staff as a lead assistant, first-year head coach Reed Robelot announced this week. Dowling joins the Phoenix after graduating from Northern Michigan University in May with a degree in Health and Fitness Management. She was a three-time captain of the NMU swim and dive team.
UW-Green Bay has named Daniel Bickett as the next head coach of the Phoenix tennis programs, Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie announced on Thursday. Bickett joins Green Bay following a one-year stint as the head coach at UW-Oshkosh and six seasons as an assistant coach for the highly successful program at UW-Whitewater. Prior to arriving at UW-Oshkosh, the native of Houston, Texas, oversaw a staff of four tennis professionals as the Director of Tennis at Premier Tennis & Fitness in Janesville. For more, see the news release.
The countdown to our 50th anniversary continues. New since our last edition of the Log:
• The April 1982 press conference at which UWGB administrators introduced respected, well-liked assistant Dick Lien as the new men’s basketball coach would have broken the internet had it occurred today.
• Prof. Trinidad Chavez had a Sound Idea for a show/jazz choir, and the University had itself a scholarship troupe of musical ambassadors.
• Jazz Fest has nearly a 50-year history, and with top alumni including drummer Carl Allen returning to help out, it just keeps rolling along.
• It was Sheepshead Revue for Vol. 1, No. 1 in February 1975. Now Sheepshead Review, the UW-Green Bay literary publication is enjoying arguably its greatest success.
• Care to see a picture of Tim Sewall, who is today an interim administrator in student affairs, being a good sport by wearing a hot icy-silver costume for the 2003 Chili Cookoff? We’ve got it.
• UW-Green Bay has had an impressive recent run of UW System professor-of-the-year honorees. The recognition program began in 1992, and by 1993 UWGB had its first winner: Joseph Moran of Natural and Applied Sciences.
• Time was when UWGB Summer Music Camps held their closing camp concerts behind Theatre Hall (then known as the Creative Communication Building) and borrowed a “stage” in the form of the old Green Bay Parks department’s “Showmobile.” We have a photo.
Head coach Beth Spoehr has announced the addition of Greg Bachkora to the Green Bay softball coaching staff. Bachkora, originally from Lee’s Summit, Mo., joins the Phoenix after a two-year stint with Northern Colorado where he worked as a graduate assistant and the director of softball operations. He is a graduate of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., and holds a master’s degree in physical education from Emporia State and a master’s in sports coaching from Northern Colorado.
Kim Brandao, entering her first year as head coach of Phoenix women’s soccer, announced her 2015 schedule this week. It opens with home exhibition games at 2 p.m. Sunday (Aug. 9) vs. Viterbo and 6 p.m. next Wednesday vs. Northern Illinois. Following a road trip including the regular-season opener Aug. 21 at Northern Iowa, the first official home action is 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 28 vs. St. Mary’s (Calif.).
UW-Green Bay has named Reed Robelot its next head swimming and diving coach, Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie has announced. Robelot joins the Phoenix following a successful five-year stint as an assistant coach with ACC member Virginia Tech, where he helped the Hokies to three-consecutive top-25 finishes for both the men’s and the women’s teams. Robelot takes over from Jim Merner, who announced his retirement on May 8 to cap a successful 25-year career. For more on the coach.
Local fishing guide Ryan Grant (oldest son of UW-Green Bay staff member Poppy Grant) took TV-26 personality John Maino fishing recently with special guest Kevin Borseth, head coach of Green Bay women’s basketball. Borseth boated a nice Great Lakes spotted muskie, and TV-26 aired a nice segment on the coach’s big catch.