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Super Bowl week activities took a backseat, at least for several hours, to a previously-unknown Illinois State University football recruit who dominated social media for more than a day.

Kansas high school football player Kobe Buffalomeat literally made headlines when his decision to play at ISU was made public during national college signing day, February 1st. His unique handle was highlighted online and otherwise by Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Washington Post, New York Times and other media outlets.

Mike Miletich / WGLT

Chicago Cubs fans of all ages are getting the chance to see the World Series trophy in Central Illinois. Mayors of both Bloomington and Normal officially named January 18, 2017 Chicago Cubs Day.

The Cubs Trophy Tour presented by State Farm made a stop at Illinois Wesleyan's Shirk Center Wednesday morning. 

Northern Illinois University Press

As Illinois State University's football Redbirds prepare for an unprecedented third consecutive appearance in the NCAA-Football Championship Subdivision post-season tournament, a central Illinois native has written a book on the history of the program.

Millions Join Cubs Celebration

Nov 4, 2016
Sarah Curtis

Chicago officials say the crowd estimate for the Chicago Cubs championship celebration is about 5 million people watching the team go by.

The number includes everyone who lined the parade route and the crowd who attended a rally at Grant Park.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Campus area taverns. restaurants, and sports bars were all at capacity with people lined up outside to watch the Cubs win the World Series.

After the ten inning end to a 108 year drought in championships, people poured out onto the streets and headed for the Illinois State University quad in the thousands.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Area law enforcement agencies and Illinois State University are preparing for a party in town if the Chicago Cubs win the World Series.

Police at ISU and the Town of Normal have increased staffing by more than 25 officers for the evening and they have lengthened their usual on call lists.

Illinois State University

Illinois State University has promoted from within to fill the Dean Position in the College of Applied Sciences and Technology.

Todd McLoda is the current Senior Associate Dean in that College.

Wikipedia

As enthusiasm for the Chicago Cubs run to the World Series has roared across the country, so has the omnipresence of the Cubs theme song penned by the late Steve Goodman.   But there's an interesting back story to how that song became the teams OFFICIAL theme song.  

Jasmine Bejar

When the Chicago Cubs lost back to back games to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series earlier this week, even optimistic Cubs fans including Zach Bernard began to feel the jitters.

“I remember between the last pitch of game 3 and the first pitch of game 4 there was a general uneasiness going through the day talking to people about the Cubs.  You just didn’t know. There was a significant difference to tying the series in game 4 or being down 3 to 1 in game 5” said Bernard.

Jasmine Bejar

As longtime Chicago Cub fans wait for the inevitable shoe to drop on a dream season, Illinois State University graduate and former GLT announcer Zach Bernard is preaching optimism.  Bernard is a reporter and local host for NPR's All Things Considered at WBOI in Ft. Wayne, Indiana and writes and edits for the online baseball site robaseball.com. He said the Cubs had the better and more complete team coming into the National League Championship Series.

“It’s just a matter of beating their (Dodgers) best guys, which for game two, the Cubs couldn’t do” said Bernard.  “But the good news for the Cubs is that Clayton Kershaw can’t play every day.” 

Ron Cogswell / Flickr

Attorneys representing the widow of Ernie Banks have withdrawn from a lawsuit over the late Chicago Cubs great's estate.

Elizabeth Banks has been contesting a will that Banks signed three month before he died in January 2015. It left his inheritance to Regina Rice, a longtime friend who took care of his financial affairs.

Elizabeth Banks, who was in the process of a divorce from the 83-year-old at the time of his death, alleged in a petition in Cook County probate court that Rice "isolated and controlled" him in the final months of his life.

goredbirds.com

Illinois State University head football coach Brock Spack is without some key veteran offensive performers that highlighted two co-Missouri Valley Football Conference championship seasons. But he's hopeful the overall version of Redbird football for 2016 can be just as competitive, if not more so.

Dave Kindred Collection / Illinois Wesleyan University

Hall of Fame sportswriter and McLean County native Dave Kindred is donating a substantial portion of his writing collection to his alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University.

Kindred, who has spent more than a half-century writing about sports, is donating some 45 boxes of articles, audio recordings, letters, press passes and books to IWU. Much of the content deals with his coverage of the late boxing great Muhammad Ali.

YouTube

Hall of Fame sportswriter and central Illinois native Dave Kindred knew Muhammad Ali about as well as any author or columnist. Kindred wrote the book Sound and Fury in 2006, detailing the complicated relationship between Ali and legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell.

During a Sound Ideas interview, Kindred said Ali always referred to him as 'Louisville' (a reference to Ali's hometown, where Kindred worked when the two first met 50 years ago).

Illinois Wesleyan University

Illinois Wesleyan senior Max Leonard has won the national championship in the discus at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

WDCB Radio

Saturday, horse racing fans and casual observers alike will turn their attention to the first race of this year’s Triple Crown campaign. Last year’s Kentucky Derby winner is the subject of a new book. IPR's Brian O’Keefe spoke with Joe Drape, author of the book simply titled American Pharoah.

Central Illinois Figure Skating Club

It's heating up outside.  But at the Pepsi Ice Center in Bloomington, everything's cool.

Staff / WGLT

Former Bloomington High and Eastern Illinois football standout Adrian Arrington is among a growing number of players complaining about symptoms that may be concussion-related. In fact, Arrington initiated a still-pending class-action lawsuit against the National Collegiate Athletic Association, alleging the governing body doesn't do enough to protect student-athletes.

Katherine Owen Photography

  Athletes with disabilities take on area coaches in a fundraiser for LIFE Center for Independent Living.

The 8th Annual Wheelchair Basketball Game is Saturday, April 23 at 11 a.m. at Kingsley Junior High in Normal.  The event features a game between the U of I wheelchair basketball team and area athletic coaches and raises money for LIFE CIL in Bloomington and Pontiac.  Proceeds will also pay for two scholarships for the U of I Youth Wheelchair Sport Summer Camps.

Gay Fuhrmeister

Chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin's deer population is growing geographically and in prevalence. The Department of Natural Resources says more than 9 percent of white-tailed deer tested last year were positive for CWD.

Illinois State University Athletics

One year ago today, an Illinois State University assistant basketball coach and an associate athletic director were among seven who died when a small Cessna crashed just north of the Central Illinois Regional Airport. Killed in the crash were Associate head men's basketball coach Torrey Ward and Deputy Director of Athletics Aaron Leetch, businessmen Andy Butler, Scott Bittner, and Terry Stralow, and pilot Tom Hileman.

Jesrushton / Flickr via Creative Commons

A large shooting complex in southern Illinois has had a limited reopening after it was closed nearly seven months ago due to the lack of a state budget. The World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta held its first shooting event Saturday. An Illinois Department of Natural Resources spokesman said the facility isn't totally reopened, but shooting areas are being used on a limited basis. He says the facility is allowing organized groups and events to use the shooting areas. Democratic state Rep.

Pro Basketball Tips Off In Pontiac

Mar 31, 2016
Jeff Bossert / Illinois Public Media

A small central Illinois community might seem an unlikely place for a new professional sports team. But earlier this year, Pontiac, in Livingston County, welcomed a minor league basketball team to town. It’s a community that’s had a strong connection to basketball for decades.

For their inaugural season, as many as 800 people have turned out for the Pontiac 66ers’ home games.  The crowd was a little lighter for the Sunday March 6 contest vs. the Champaign Swarm – with about 300 fans.

A change in high school athletics is coming. Following several departures from the Corn Belt Conference, remaining members are proposing a merger with Okaw Valley high school athletic programs. Members of both conferences have voted unanimously in favor of the merger. If approved by Superintendents and Boards, the merger would take effect in 2017. In the new conference would be: Bloomington Central Catholic, Illinois Valley Central, Olympia, Pontiac, and Prairie Central from the Corn Belt, and The High School of St. Thomas More in Champaign, Monticello, Rantoul, St.

Luke Wellman / Soundsations-Photos

Alex Wellman recently earned a silver medal in the intermediate men's level at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul, Minnesota.  As a member of the Central Illinois Figure Skating Club, Wellman began his career just a handful of years ago and is already achieving great success.

JERushton / Wikipedia via Creative Commons

A national trapshooting event is returning to a shuttered state-owned shooting range in southern Illinois with an uncertain future. The American Trapshooting Association and Illinois Department of Natural Resources have agreed to host the Grand American World Trapshooting Championship in August at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta. The complex was temporarily shut down in October because of the ongoing state budget impasse.

Deer Harvest Exceeds 150,000

Jan 20, 2016

More than 155,000 deer were harvested by Illinois hunters during the 2015-2016 deer hunting seasons. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources says about 155,130 deer were harvested this year, compared to 145,720 deer last year. Hunters took about 56,730 deer during the archery season from Oct. 1 to Jan. 17. Young hunters harvested about 2,840 deer during the youth season from Oct. 10 to 12. Nearly 86,900 deer were taken during the traditional firearm season from Nov. 20 to 22 and Dec. 3 to 6. Hunters harvested 2,375 deer during the muzzleloader-only season from Dec. 11 to 13.

Senait Gebregiorgis / Illinois Public Media

University of Illinois Interim Urbana Chancellor Barbara Wilson says the decision to fire athletic director Mike Thomas came after a law firm’s release of a final report into abuse allegations within the football and women’s basketball programs. But speaking in a morning news conference, Wilson says the dismissal is tied to ‘distractions' and not any misconduct or violations of policies or standards by the now-former Athletic Director.

Normal Lands Fast Pitch Tournament

Nov 5, 2015

The town of Normal's place as a center for competitive softball tournaments is further cemented with the announcement the Amateur Softball Association will hold it's 2017 Girls National Fast Pitch Championship here. The tournament will be July 30th through August 6, and about 150 teams are expected. The tournament is also an economic benefit, and will have an economic impact of over $1.5-Million, officials say.

Laura Kennedy / WGLT

  Homecoming is more than just bonfires and football games these days.  Laura Kennedy talks with Doris Groves from the ISU Alumni Center about what  Illinois State University's Homecoming has to offer the campus and the community.

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