Wednesday State Sports Briefs: Bucks bid bye-bye to Boylan
MILWAUKEE - Milwaukee Bucks' coach Jim Boylan was let go today, after a late-season collapse in which the Bucks were swept by Miami in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Boylan led Milwaukee to its first post-season berth in three seasons. But he could not overcome a swoon in which the Bucks lost 12-of-their-final-16, and finishing with their eighth losing season in nine years. General manager John Hammond said it's in the Bucks' best interest to make a change, and a search for a new coach will begin immediately. Media reports say the early possibilities are Houston assistant Kelvin Sampson, former Orlando and University of Wisconsin head coach Stan Van Gundy, and Indiana assistant Brian Shaw.
The 58-year-old Boylan was Scott Skiles' top assistant for over four seasons until Skiles left in early January. Boylan finished the regular season 22-28, and the Bucks lost all four of their playoff games by double-digit margins. Boylan said he didn't do good enough. He said his hands were tied a little bit as the interim coach, but he won't point fingers at anyone but himself. Boylan said he accomplished a few things - like getting to the playoffs, and helping Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders improve. But guard Brandon Jennings was unhappy late in the season - and after Sunday's playoff loss, Jennings wouldn't answer the question of whether he wanted to play in Milwaukee anymore. He's a restricted free agent, which means the Bucks can match any offer he gets from other teams. The Bucks have gone through 10 head coaches since Herb Kohl bought the team in 1985. They only had two (Larry Costello and Don Nelson) before then from the year the franchise was founded in 1968.
Next Wednesday is when NASCAR's Appeals Panel will consider a challenge by Joe Gibbs Racing to the severe penalties assessed against Matt Kenseth's car. The Wisconsin driver from Cambridge was caught with an illegal engine after he won an April 21st race at Kansas City, Kansas. NASCAR penalized the Gibbs team for using a connecting rod which barely failed to meet the minimum weight. Kenseth lost his pole victory for that race - but he came right back and won a pole the following week.
LSU's athletic director says he's discussing the possibility of playing a football game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. But Joe Alleva says there are many things to consider before the game can be set, and talks are still in the early stages. Alleva says his Tigers and the Badgers are exploring a two-game series - one at Lambeau, and the other in Houston. One issue that's holding things up is whether LSU's Southeastern Conference will start playing nine league games instead of eight. That item will be discussed at the SEC's spring meetings May 28-31. Alleva says a game at the storied home of the Green Bay Packers would be a good recruiting tool - but he admits that northeast Wisconsin would be a long trip for his school.
Wisconsin athletes took three-of-the-four weekly outdoor track-and-field honors in the Midwest Conference. Cooper Witt of Carroll University in Waukesha was named the men's track performer-of-the-week. Megan O'Grady of Carroll is the top women's runner. And Randy Hill of Saint Norbert is the men's field athlete-of-the-week. Witt, a sophomore, had the season's best times in the NCAA's Division III in the 100-and-200 meters. He ran the 100 in :10.97 seconds at the Gina Relays, and he ran the 200 in :21.98. O'Grady, a senior, had the nation's second-best time in the five-thousand meters at 17:15.67. Hill, a sophomore, won the long jump and the triple jump, and was the runner-up in the high jump. Missy Norville of Illinois College was named the top women's field performer.
In the Midwest League, the Beloit Snappers will try to go above .500 tonight when they play the Great Lakes Loons in Midland Michigan. The Snappers returned to the break-even point at 11-11 yesterday, with a 9-5 home win over West Michigan. The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are off today, after getting crushed at home by South Bend 12-3. The Silver Hawks churned out 17 hits for their first-ever sweep at Appleton. The Rattlers fell to 8-13. South Bend hosts Quad Cities tonight. Also in the Midwest League this evening, West Michigan entertains Cedar Rapids. Bowling Green is at Kane County. Clinton hosts Dayton. Fort Wayne travels to Burlington. Peoria plays Lake County at home. And Lansing hosts cross-town Michigan State University in an exhibition.
UW-Eau Claire has earned the top seed and the hosting rights for the WIAC softball tournament which begins on Friday. The Blugolds earned both by winning their second straight regular season title with a pair of victories yesterday over UW-Oshkosh. Eau Claire won the opener 6-2, and the nightcap 6-4. Whitewater will finish second, and will have the league tournament's No. 2 seed.
The Milwaukee Admirals will try to take a two-games-to-one lead in their American Hockey League playoff series with Texas tonight. Game-Three of the best-of-five first round series will be played at the Cedar Park Center near Austin. Texas will also host Game-Four on Friday night and the deciding fifth game on Saturday night if it's necessary. Milwaukee is coming off a 2-0 home victory over the Stars in Game-Two. The Admirals were out-shot 21-to-9 in the final two periods of that contest. The Admirals have a five-game road winning streak which they'll try to extend. They've also won 10-of-their-last-11 away from home.
Kris Yoo has become the first University of Wisconsin women's golfer in six years to make an all-conference team. Yoo, a junior, has been named to the All-Big Ten second team. She leads the Badgers with a season scoring average of 75.12 through 11 tournaments. Yoo will have a chance to improve on that average when she plays in the NCAA Central Regional starting a week from tomorrow in Norman, Oklahoma. The last Wisconsin women's golfer to make an all-conference was Katie Elliot in 2007. She's now an assistant coach with the Badgers. Caroline Powers of Michigan State is the Big Ten's player-of-the-year. Emily Fletcher of Northwestern is the coach-of-the-year.
The UW-Milwaukee baseball team won at Iowa last night, 10-3. Freshman Brian Keller had a no-hitter for four-and-two-thirds innings. He ended up tossing a six-hitter, giving up three runs with three walks and a strikeout. Luke Meeteer and Alex Erdmann homered for UWM, which scored all its runs in the first five innings. Milwaukee improved to 19-16 overall. Iowa dropped to 16-23.
A point guard from Sun Prairie has given an early commitment to the Marquette University men's basketball team. Nick Noskowiak is ending his sophomore year. He said he chose Marquette over five other schools that offered him scholarships - UW-Milwaukee, UW-Green Bay, Creighton, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa. The 6-2 Noskowiak tweeted that he "couldn't be more excited" to say he'd be a Marquette Golden Eagle in two years.
Edgewood and Aurora won their opening matches yesterday in the Northern Athletics Conference men's tennis tournament. Fifth-seeded Edgewood had a mild upset over No. 4 Wisconsin Lutheran, 5-2. Third-seeded Aurora eliminated No. 6 Dominican, 5-1. Edgewood will now play top-seeded Concordia-Mequon in Saturday's semi-finals in Kohler. Aurora will face No. 2 Milwaukee School of Engineering in the other semi. The two top seeds both had first-round byes. The semifinal winners will play each other for the tournament title on Saturday afternoon.
UW-Milwaukee field athletes Dan Simon and Samia Taylor have received weekly honors from the Horizon League. Simon was named the men's outdoor field athlete-of-the-week, and Taylor joined Candice Carajohn of Loyola for co-honors on the women's side. Simon was recognized for the second straight week. The senior recorded the Horizon League's second-best marks in both the pole vault and the long jump at the UW-Whitewater Drake Alternate. Taylor, who's also a senior, had the league's best showing in the long jump with six-point-oh-two meters. That missed the school record by only a half-inch.
Garrick Day of Wisconsin Lutheran has been named the baseball pitcher-of-the-week in the Northern Athletics Conference. Day, a junior right-hander, tossed an eight-hitter in a 4-3 victory over then-19th-ranked Concordia-Chicago. Daryn Streed of Rockford received the league's weekly hitting honors. In softball, Ashleigh Sagat of Alverno College in Milwaukee is the NAC's position player-of-the-week. The junior belted her third grand slam of the season in a 7-3 win over Dominican. Sagat batted .500 for the week with 13 extra-base hits. The NAC also recognized Russell Johnson of Concordia-Mequon in men's tennis, and John Balsman of Concordia-Mequon in men's track.