IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Random thoughts on the morning after a great day for the UI men's golf team...
Mark Hankins' University of Iowa men's golf team has advanced to the national championship....again. The Hawkeyes did it in style Saturday in Athens, Ga., firing the second best round of the final day to scoot ahead of New Mexico, Augusta State, and Long Beach State to finish fifth in its NCAA Regional competition. You can read about it and watch some video about it HERE.
I'm not certain I can name a coach at the UI that has had the immediate impact on their program like Hankins. Mark will complete his fifth season as head coach of the Hawkeyes the last few days of May and the first few days of June at a pretty nice location, too: HERE. It will be the Hawkeyes' fourth NCAA Championship appearance under Hankins. All of Mt. Pleasant - Hankins' home town - should be pretty proud of his tremendous work.
And, in case you missed it earlier in the week, Hankins and Megan Menzel, the first-year head coach of the UI's women's golf program, will also have this in their bag of tricks in the not-too-distant future: HERE.
Jack Dahm's Iowa baseball team - a young one, to say the least - completed its 2012 season yesterday at Duane Banks Field with its second win in as many days against the Big Ten Conference's best and only nationally ranked team, the Purdue Boilermakers. You can read about the victory and watch a video HERE.
Last week I suggested that those at the table reworking college football were about to double their trouble when going from two to four teams. Well, it wasn't that much of a stretch to suggest this...but I kind of chuckled when I read this ESPN report that came out last week when the Big Ten Conference's directors of athletics were huddling in Chicago: HERE.
Big Ten ADs also talked about bowl eligibility. It seems seven wins is the magic number in their eyes. That would raise the bar by one win and, in so doing, get the system out of the practice of giving access to postseason play to teams that have won only half of their games. Seems awfully logical to me.
Here's one from the Wall Street Journal that you might enjoy, particularly if you're a Cubs fans waiting for the big turnaround...which is underway under Theo but, alas, it's going to take a year or two: HERE.
Hankins' squad advanced to southern California and this year's national championship thanks to a solid round up and down the roster. However, it needs to be noted that arguably the Hawkeyes' top two performances in Saturday's final round were by freshman: Ian Vandersee, a newcomer from West Des Moines, was five-under-par in his final 18. That was the best score of the day by anyone on the course by four strokes. And, while he wasn't in red numbers, Joseph Winslow, a freshman from Overland Park, Kan., fired a 3-over-par yesterday - a 10-stroke improvement from Friday. When freshman perform this way under the bright lights of postseason play, you know you've got good players who are realizing the benefits of great instruction.
The UI men's golf team isn't the only group of Hawkeyes headed for postseason action. Iowa's men's and women's track programs will travel to the Lone Star State for NCAA Regional competition. It's a pretty large group of participants, too: HERE.
So, the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12 Conference have a new bowl game. You can read about it HERE. I agree with the sentiment that the world of college football could rock and roll in the next two months as it did two years ago when "Realignment Frenzy" took us by storm. This time it's the jockeying that will accompany the new championship structure and the bowl system that will be a part of it. And, yes, I believe the new championship will embrace the bowl system...but that's just my slightly educated opinion. Others will have theirs and those with more knowledge of the details of what's coming will have even more educated opinions. I find myself wondering the seemingly obvious: Where do the independents - and, specifically, Notre Dame - fit and will there be as strong a sentiment this time as there was last time to carve out special rules for them?
Phil Haddy, Iowa's longtime sports information director, will pick up a nice honor later this spring before officially retiring his keyboard at the end of June after a nice run with the Hawkeyes. You can read about it HERE. Phil won't be totally out of the black-and-gold picture, however. He'll still undoubtedly wander through the Paul W. Brechler Press Box and the same locale in Carver-Hawkeye Arena in addition to manning the microphone as the public address announcer at home meets of the UI wrestling program for the foreseeable future.
Lastly, if you have a graduate among you - grade school, high school, college, or graduate school - congrats to you and them! We do and we will be celebrating her achievements next weekend.