Morning State Sports Briefs: UW women's tennis coach criticized for tactics, AD gives strong supportWisconsin Sports
-- University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez issued a strong statement yesterday in support of women’s tennis coach Brian Fleishman. That’s after the Badger Herald newspaper on the UW-Madison campus quoted several anonymous players who said some of their teammates were fighting anorexia because of the coach’s limits on their diets.
MADISON - University of Wisconsin Athletic Director Barry Alvarez issued a strong statement yesterday in support of women’s tennis coach Brian Fleishman. That’s after the Badger Herald newspaper on the UW-Madison campus quoted several anonymous players who said some of their teammates were fighting anorexia because of the coach’s limits on their diets.
The allegations also accused the coach of having quote, “issues with food” – and they said he inflicted quote, “serious physical and mental damage” to certain team members. Alvarez said nobody in his department was made aware of the allegations until last week. But he said they took them seriously and started looking into them immediately. Alvarez said his senior staff members met with each women’s tennis player – and those meetings quote, “did not verify the seriousness of the allegations made to the Badger Herald.” As a result, Alvarez said Fleishman has his support. The athletic director said all Badger coaches go through an annual evaluation. And while some concerns always arise, he said he’s confident that quote, “Coach Fleishman’s actions do not match up with the allegations that were anonymously made public.” The Wisconsin women’s tennis team went 14-11 overall this season, and 5-5 in the Big Ten. Fleishman has coached the Badgers for four seasons. This record is the team's best in seven years, however, UW assistant coach Audra Cohen, who was also said to have been affected by Fleishman's coaching style in the Herald article, announced her resignation.
Five Wisconsin teams will play their first games on Thursday in the NCAA Division III softball tournament. The field of 60 teams was announced yesterday. UW-Eau Claire will host one of eight regionals – all of which have double-elimination formats. The host Blugolds will play Saint Thomas of Saint Paul, and the winner will face either WIAC champion River Falls or Midwest Conference champ Ripon College. La Crosse will play North Central in its opener, and that winner will go up against either Luther or Saint Scholastica in the second round. UW-Whitewater is the other Wisconsin school in the tournament, and they’ll play at a regional in Pella, Iowa. The Warhawks face Coe College on Thursday. The regional games in Eau Claire will be played on Gelein Field in Carson Park.
The Milwaukee Admirals will host the seventh-and-final game of the American Hockey League West Division finals tonight. The Admirals and Houston Aeros are tied at three-games-apiece in their second round playoff series. Tonight’s winner will play Manitoba in the Western Conference Finals. The Moose just wrapped up a hard-fought seven-game series with Hamilton. It took three overtimes for Manitoba to win the deciding game, 4-3. Milwaukee is coming off a 5-4 overtime victory on Sunday night. The Admirals only had one power play goal in the series, until they scored a pair in Game-Six. They’ll be without defense Teemu Laakso and right wing Chris Mueller, who were both called up yesterday by Milwaukee’s NHL parent club at Nashville.
In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will open a home series against Cedar Rapids tonight. The Rattlers defeated Quad Cities 5-4 last evening, while Cedar Rapids fell to the Beloit Snappers 5-4 in 10 innings. Beloit opens a road series at Kane County tonight. Also tonight, Western Division leader Burlington plays at Peoria. Clinton is at Quad Cities. East leader Lansing plays at Great Lakes. Dayton hosts Lake County. Bowling Green is at Fort Wayne. And West Michigan hosts a double-header against South Bend.
A familiar name will join the Wisconsin men’s basketball team in the fall of 2012. Zach Bohannon, a younger brother of former Badgers’ guard Jason Bohannon, will transfer to UW-Madison this fall from the Air Force Academy. He’ll have to sit out for a year under the NCAA’s transfer rules – and he’ll then have two years of eligibility left. Zach Bohannon is a 6-8 forward. He’s a half-foot taller than Jason, who left the Badger program just over a year ago. Zach Bohannon says he wants to go into coaching after he leaves college, and he doesn’t want to have to deal with a five-year service commitment after he graduates. He said he chose Wisconsin over Northwestern because the Badgers have a long streak of playing in the NCAA Tournament, and he’s banking on that to continue. Bohannon is from Marion, Iowa. Injuries held him back this past season, and he averaged just over four-points a game while shooting 49-percent from the floor.
The head of women’s basketball operations at Virginia Tech will take the same job at the University of Wisconsin. The Badgers’ new coach, Bobbie Kelsey, has named Jill Jameson as the director of basketball operations. She’ll begin her new post on June first. Among other things, Jameson will watch the team’s budget, arrange for travel, and handle summer camps and community service projects.
An Iowa State men’s basketball player from Milwaukee has been released from the team. The move came after Calvin Godfrey was arrested this past weekend for possessing marijuana. Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said Godfrey broke team rules a number of times, and his arrest was the last straw. He was suspended for three Big 12 Conference games in February for undisclosed violations of team rules. Hoiberg said part of his responsibility is to help players develop as young men – and that’s why he let Godfrey return for next season. But he said the marijuana arrest ended that possibility. Godfrey started five games for Iowa State. His best game was against Colorado late in the season, when he had 23 points and 11 rebounds in a Cyclones’ victory.
The U.S. men’s hockey team will play the Czech Republic tomorrow in the quarter-finals of the World Championships in Slovakia. The Americans lost their final game in the qualification round to Switzerland 5-3 yesterday. Wisconsin’s Craig Smith scored the first goal for Team USA, and ex-Badger Derek Stepan had an assist later on.