Hawk Talk Daily: Random Thoughts

May 8, 2011

EDITOR’S NOTE: “Random Thoughts” is a weekly feature of Hawk Talk Daily, a daily e-newsletter distributed to 60,000-plus fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes. To be added to the distribution list, call us at (319) 335-9431.

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Random thoughts on an absolutely beautiful Mother’s Day in the Heartland…

…and we deserve it, frankly. I wasn’t sure spring was ever going to get here. Now, of course, we’re going to jump right into summer mid-week with 80s in the 7-day forecast. But I dare not complain. It seems like we’ve been living in the high 40s/low 50s since the end of the hoops season.


Happy Mother’s Day! And, if you’re not being celebrated today – and even if you are – pick up the phone and call mom. She’d like to hear from ya. I admittedly rank among those that probably don’t touch base as much as they should.

If you aren’t aware, golfer Vince India and hoops standout Kachine Alexander on Monday were announced as the UI’s male and female athletes of the year. Absolutely great choices as far as this guy is concerned. In addition to be outstanding Hawkeyes, both appear to have what it takes to perhaps continue to play for a living which is a nice by-product of their experiences at the UI. You can read about that announcement HERE.

I wandered through Carver-Hawkeye Arena Friday with Darren Miller, our director of new media. All I can say is “Wow.” I was particularly impressed with the additional space that’s been created for our wrestling team and, of course, the practice facility which is now wall-to-wall playing floor. Impressive, very impressive.

I had a great hallway chat with our track coach, Larry Wieczorek, early last week. He was raving about how wonderful the fans at the Drake Relays treated the Hawkeyes. He also raved about his team’s performances. And he raved about the performances of a handful of high school standouts who are to-be Hawkeyes. If you know Larry, you know Larry likes to rave. There’s nothing wrong with raving. Raving is good. And, frankly, he has lots to rave about.

Which is more true: Fans of the Hawkeyes are too pessimistic about the fortunes of the 2011 Iowa football team or too optimistic about the same for the 2011-12 Iowa men’s basketball team? Interesting question, I think. I’m a half-filled-water-glass kind of guy, so I’m thinking big for both. With Kirk’s squad, we seem to be where we thrive: An underappreciated football team perhaps flying below the radar. With Fran’s, there’s just too much “Mo'” from the end of last season to think that next season can’t be something really, really fun.

If you’re thinking of attending the John Deere Classic, hold off on your purchase of tickets. The UI and the staff at the JDC are putting the final touches on a special day for fans of the Hawkeyes. Stay tuned.

And, here’s a little more about the previous paragraph: A good chunk of the extended family found their way to my daughter’s tennis match last Friday where I was asked by one of them, “8-and-4, Rick?” I smiled as I always smile when tossed this softball during the off-season and responded with a, “C’mon. You know that answer: 13-and-0 and Pasadena!” It’s May and everyone in college football is undefeated. I like our chances of staying that way for a good number of weeks next fall.

A fair chunk of the excitement that is Iowa Basketball 2011-12 is a result of the recruiting class Fran and his staff put together and, as we noted last week, closed with a bang last month. Today’s Des Moines Register offers a look at Anthony Hubbard, the first of the final two to-be Hawkeyes that signed on the dotted line in April. As they say, it’s “a pretty good read.” Click HERE.

Have you purchased your tickets for “Gable’s Gold” yet? Bump is now on the roster of speakers. Gable was one of the Mr. Elliott’s hires. Iowa’s long-time director of athletics also hired Hayden Fry, Lute Olson, Tom Davis, Duane Banks, and a bunch of others who guided black-and-gold clad teams to lots of great moments. I’m sure Mr. Elliott will have something to say about Dan that will light up the room. And the ballroom at the Marriott in Coralville needs to be busting at the seams. This night is in honor of one very, very special Iowan. And, by the way, being a wrestling fan is not a prerequisite for attendance. To reserve your chair for this very special evening – emceed by the one and only Phil Haddy – click HERE.

Lots of good responses to my query about the salutes Prince William was giving on his way to and from the Royal Wedding two weeks ago now. Many also noted that his bride bowed her head. So, while we’ve not had total confirmation, it appears very likely that they were, as suggested, passing memorials that required a public show of respect.

If you’re thinking of attending the John Deere Classic, hold off on your purchase of tickets. The UI and the staff at the JDC are putting the final touches on a special day for fans of the Hawkeyes. Stay tuned.

Lastly — and more golf — Mark Hankins’ squad will learn tomorrow afternoon where it will open NCAA Championship. Mark told me last week he’d be delighted with Florida for lots of reasons including, most notably, a little more predictable weather-wise. Likely is probably too strong a word, but, nonetheless, it’s likely that Iowa will find itself heading to Indianapolis…although Oklahoma is a decent possibility and a not-so-bad option, according to Iowa’s talented head coach.

Go Hawks.