Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com Latest news from Post-Tribune Online en-us webmaster@suntimes.com (Editor) http://posttrib.suntimes.com/csp/cms/sites/STM/assets/img/logos/posttrib.gif Post-Tribune http://posttrib.suntimes.com 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Oakland blockbuster makes Lloyd McClendon’s job tougher ]]> Lead story image

CHICAGO — “Trade? What trade?” Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon was being facetious, of course. All weekend he’s been asked that question, ever since Oakland acquired pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the endlessly rebuilding Cubs. Already pitching-rich with innings-eaters Scott Kazmir (10-3, 2.53 ERA), Sonny Gray (8-3, 3.08) and Jesse Chavez (6-5. 3.23), the Athletics are going for broke to separate themselves from the Angels and Mariners in the wild, wild American League West. In the visitors dugout at the Cell on Saturday, McClendon shelved his dry sense of humor, then grudgingly complimented the A’s. “They did a nice … ]]> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 02:05:54 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/28514171-556/mutka-oakland-blockbuster-makes-lloyd-mcclendons-job-tougher.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/28514171-556/mutka-oakland-blockbuster-makes-lloyd-mcclendons-job-tougher.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Big Ten, 12, 14 officially welcomes Maryland, Rutgers ]]> Lead story image

Roll out the welcome wagon for Maryland and Rutgers. For reasons which escape me, other than basic greed, they officially become members of the Big Ten, Eleven, Twelve or Fourteen on Tuesday. Cynics, pick your number. Toss out tradition. Forget Midwest values. Heartland? What heartland? What do the newcomers bring other than expansion to the Eastern market, a strong pigskin presence? Permit me a sardonic chuckle. Unlike Penn State (1993) and Nebraska (2011), who provided major bowl exposure to the Big Ten, they don’t offer attractive resumes. In the last five years the Terps have treated their fans to two … ]]> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 02:06:46 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/28386351-556/mutka-big-ten-12-14-officially-welcomes-maryland-rutgers.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/28386351-556/mutka-big-ten-12-14-officially-welcomes-maryland-rutgers.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Craig Dedelow blooms from Indiana walk-on to part-time starter ]]> Lead story image

Craig Dedelow didn’t expect to set the world on fire going into his freshman year at Indiana University. “Being a walk-on I didn’t think I’d get much playing time at all,” he said before flaring up with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen last week. Understandable since he was joining an elite program fresh from its first appearance in the College World Series. Who could blame him for feeling somewhat intimidated? “I was a little scared at first,” the Munster grad admitted. Fortunately he was embraced by a welcoming committee of coaches and players. “They made me feel like part of last … ]]> Thu, 24 Jul 2014 06:29:18 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/28243419-556/mutka-craig-dedelow-blooms-from-indiana-walk-on-to-part-time-starter.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/28243419-556/mutka-craig-dedelow-blooms-from-indiana-walk-on-to-part-time-starter.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Jerrick Suiter skipped Blue Jays to spur Horned Frogs ]]> Lead story image

In his senior year of high school Jerrick Suiter was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays. Tempting though it was, he opted to refine his skills elsewhere. “I felt like I needed to go to college and get some experience,” said Suiter, now a junior at Texas Christian. “I still feel like I’m a raw player.” Suiter chose TCU over South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Alabama. Notice they’re all southern schools. That’s because the Valparaiso grad preferred a warm-weather climate to pursue his baseball dream. “I took a ton of visits on weekends during my junior and senior year,” said Suiter, … ]]> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 06:28:30 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27814304-556/mutka-jerrick-suiter-skipped-blue-jays-to-spur-horned-frogs.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27814304-556/mutka-jerrick-suiter-skipped-blue-jays-to-spur-horned-frogs.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Gary’s nomadic Uzelac thrived as gridiron coach ]]> Lead story image

Most football coaches work their way up from high school to college. Elliot Uzelac chose a round-about route by sandwiching Division I experience between high school stints. During his 45 years of football Uzelac was named high school coach of the year in two states and once in the Mid-American Conference. The Gary native — he played basketball and football at Tolleston High School for Joe Vance and Vince Kaye — started his coaching career in Chesterton as an assistant to Ray Banary in 1964, was the West Virginia high school coach of the year in 1967, then moved up … ]]> Fri, 27 Jun 2014 06:36:35 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27676688-556/mutka-garys-nomadic-uzelac-thrived-as-gridiron-coach.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27676688-556/mutka-garys-nomadic-uzelac-thrived-as-gridiron-coach.html <![CDATA[ Mutka: Matt Painter, Purdue seeking a coming of age ]]> Lead story image

MERRILLVILLE — Getting old — that’s Coach Matt Painter’s objective. Not him, silly. Just his Purdue basketball team. In the present Division I climate, that’s difficult. Long-term planning can be a waste of time when transfers or the NBA can sabotage your efforts at the drop of a diploma. Painter is trying to deal with it, but after six straight seasons of at least 22 victories he’s in a crisis mode. Upperclassmen have become an endangered species at Mackey Arena. “When we played a lot of juniors and seniors we were pretty good,” Painter said during a recent appearance in … ]]> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 13:23:46 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27527945-556/mutka-matt-painter-purdue-seeking-a-coming-of-age.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27527945-556/mutka-matt-painter-purdue-seeking-a-coming-of-age.html <![CDATA[ Mutka: Locals add pop to Indiana baseball ]]> Lead story image

Consider the DeMuth family well-traveled. Belonging to a family of educators almost guaranteed it. In Indiana third baseman Dustin DeMuth’s case, his siblings have cast their footprints all over Northwest Indiana. His brother, David, was a three-sport star at Highland High School. His sister, Jenny, also a Highland grad, played her basketball at IU. Another sister, Julie, graduated from Merrillville High School, where their father, Dave, toiled as an assistant principal for years. She starred at Ball State. “A lot of miles on the family car,” said Dustin, who was a three-sport standout at LaPorte, where his mother, Judith, served … ]]> Fri, 06 Jun 2014 06:35:51 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27239921-556/mutka-locals-add-pop-to-indiana-baseball.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27239921-556/mutka-locals-add-pop-to-indiana-baseball.html <![CDATA[ Mutka: ‘D’ priority for VU: eliminate big plays ]]> Lead story image

Incoming Valparaiso University football coach Dave Cecchini understands the problem. How soon he can correct it is the question. He inherited a defense that frequently self-destructed, giving up big play after big play on its way to a third straight 1-and-10 meltdown. Hoping to plug holes in the dike, he recruited 13 freshmen for defense. Six of them are backs. “Our biggest priority is to stop the big plays, to make them (opponents) earn it,” he said before Saturday’s Brown-Gold scrimmage. “We’re also preaching a lot more turnovers.” Last season the Crusaders were a minus-four in that category. They were … ]]> Thu, 29 May 2014 06:33:07 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27096226-556/mutka-d-priority-for-vu-eliminate-big-plays.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/27096226-556/mutka-d-priority-for-vu-eliminate-big-plays.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Tailback riches shift Valparaiso’s offensive outlook ]]> Lead story image

VALPARAISO — Valparaiso University football fans — what few are left — would like to forget about the last three years. If not for Campbell’s three contributions the Crusaders would be 0-and-33 since 2011. One of those victories snapped a 29-game losing streak, but none were enough to save Dale Carlson’s job. Coach Dave Cecchini, imported from Lehigh, which won its ninth Patriot League title during his time as offensive coordinator, is undaunted by the challenge. Turning the Pioneer Football League cellar dwellers into a middle-of-the-road program won’t be easy, but he’s hoping to scrape the rust off the “Victory … ]]> Thu, 22 May 2014 06:35:45 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/26960014-556/mutka-tailback-riches-shift-valparaisos-offensive-outlook.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/26960014-556/mutka-tailback-riches-shift-valparaisos-offensive-outlook.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: LaPorte’s Greg Tonagel guides Indiana Wesleyan to national esteem ]]> Lead story image

National championship? Or endurance contest? Probably both. “It’s a marathon,” said Greg Tonagel, who coached Indiana Wesleyan to five victories in six days. That’s what it took for the Wildcats to win the NAIA basketball championship last week at the College of the Ozarks. “You’ve got to have tough kids,” said the LaPorte native, who became IWU’s coach in 2005 at the ripe old age of 24. “When you’re playing that many games it becomes more mental than physical to get over the hump.” Tonagel understands what it takes to become a winner. He starred for the Slicers in their … ]]> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 06:22:57 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/26400270-556/mutka-laportes-greg-tonagel-guides-indiana-wesleyan-to-national-esteem.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/26400270-556/mutka-laportes-greg-tonagel-guides-indiana-wesleyan-to-national-esteem.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: No wrestling generation gaps for Tsirtsis family ]]> Lead story image

Wrestling families seldom skip a generation. Northwestern’s Jason Tsirtsis followed that footprint on his way to the 149-pound title in the Big Ten Championships. His dad, Marino, wrestled. So did an older brother, Michael, who competed at Griffith High School in the late 1990s. Another sibling, Alex, started four years at Iowa, where he parlayed a 236-0 record at Griffith into All-American honors. Considering the family genes, Northwestern coach Drew Pariano understandably zeroed in on recruiting Jason at an early age. “Pretty much when he was in eighth grade.” Asked whether life on the mat was preordained, Jason offered a … ]]> Fri, 18 Apr 2014 06:16:30 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/26235853-556/mutka-no-wrestling-generation-gaps-for-tsirtsis-family.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/26235853-556/mutka-no-wrestling-generation-gaps-for-tsirtsis-family.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Alec Peters ranks high on Valpo’s learning curve; Wisconsin on the rise ]]> Lead story image

Freshmen have more ups and downs than your favorite roller coaster, which helps to explain Valparaiso’s modest 17-14 record and No. 4 seed going into the Horizon League basketball tournament. Five rookies account for more than 41 percent of the dethroned Crusaders’ playing time. They contribute varying degrees of highs and lows to the Division I learning curve. Unpredictability is the norm when even departing seniors Bobby Capobianco, LaVonte Dority, Moussa Gueye and Jordan Coleman have been short-term members of the program. Being bereft of four-year players makes it that much more difficult to develop team chemistry. Most of the … ]]> Fri, 04 Apr 2014 06:25:28 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25938235-556/mutka-alec-peters-ranks-high-on-valpos-learning-curve-wisconsin-on-the-rise.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25938235-556/mutka-alec-peters-ranks-high-on-valpos-learning-curve-wisconsin-on-the-rise.html <![CDATA[ Schmack makes a pitch for Valpo baseball ]]> Lead story image

Please don’t confuse first-year Valparaiso University baseball coach Brian Schmack with the new kid on the block. Hardly. Not when he spent the previous seven years as Tracy Woodson’s pitching coach. When Woodson departed for Richmond after guiding the Horizon League Tournament champs to their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, Schmack was the logical choice to replace his former boss. You couldn’t ask for a smoother transition, embellished by Schmack’s professional background. He pitched for three American League organizations, highlighted by 11 appearances for Detroit in 2003. “Tracy and I are very similar in philosophy,” he said after returning from … ]]> Mon, 24 Feb 2014 20:50:04 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25779294-556/schmack-makes-a-pitch-for-valpo-baseball.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25779294-556/schmack-makes-a-pitch-for-valpo-baseball.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: March Madness infects balanced Big Ten ]]> Lead story image

March Madness is creeping up on us. Whether or not the weatherman cooperates the silly season is less than five weeks away. If nothing else, it gives us something to think about besides snow and below-zero temperatures. Going into Saturday’s games only Syracuse and Wichita State remain undefiled by a loss. If I was a betting man I’d pick the Shockers as the most likely to take a perfect record into their conference tournament. Syracuse’s “A” list of quality victims includes Villanova (22-2 record), Pittsburgh (20-6) twice, Duke (20-5), North Carolina (17-7), California (16-8), Clemson (15-8) and Minnesota (16-9), but … ]]> Tue, 18 Mar 2014 06:25:10 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25627208-556/mutka-march-madness-infects-balanced-big-ten.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25627208-556/mutka-march-madness-infects-balanced-big-ten.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Valpo, St. Joe’s hit football recruiting jackpot ]]> Lead story image

Apparently defense is a foreign concept to high school football teams in Central Indiana. How else do you explain ridiculous scores like 83-78 and 43-35? Quarterbacked by Conner Smith, Perry Meridian put up those winning numbers against Decatur Central and Terre Haute South last season. In those two games the Valparaiso University recruit threw 12 of his 39 touchdown passes. Running a no-huddle offense, he clicked on 62.1 percent of his passes for 3,114 yards. What jumped out at me was that only eight of his 317 attempts were picked off. Not exactly a gazelle, the 6-3, 220-pound recruit has … ]]> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 16:48:01 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25489729-556/mutka-valpo-st-joes-hit-football-recruiting-jackpot.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25489729-556/mutka-valpo-st-joes-hit-football-recruiting-jackpot.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: German all-star Chris Ensminger helped launch Valpo hoops ]]> Lead story image

Most career basketball records are made to be broken. Others? Maybe not. At Valparaiso University a few that seem secure include Bryce Drew’s total of 2,142 points and Chris Ensminger’s 910 rebounds. That inside-outside combination figured in a VU dynasty, which started with the first of five straight NCAA appearances in 1996. Drew disagrees with my suggestion that the two standards won’t be toppled any time soon, but is constrained by modesty. “All records will eventually be broken,” said Drew, who played two years with Ensminger, “but it will take a special player with a great nose for the ball.” … ]]> Sun, 02 Feb 2014 21:56:00 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25334380-556/mutka-german-all-star-chris-ensminger-helped-launch-valpo-hoops.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25334380-556/mutka-german-all-star-chris-ensminger-helped-launch-valpo-hoops.html <![CDATA[ MUTKA: Lindner recalls high-octane days with Bartow ]]> Lead story image

In Bruce Lindner’s senior year at Valparaiso University, basketball coach Gene Bartow asked him to shoot more. Lindner was only too happy to oblige. Being a gunner paid off. Lindner averaged 27.8 points in the 1969-70 season, a school record that has withstood the test of time. Bartow’s unusual request boosted Lindner’s career average to 19.5, also a school record. Pretty terrific for someone who didn’t even start at Portage High School until his senior season and didn’t have the benefit of the 3-point shot. A nudge from his parents helped him pick VU over Evansville, Miami and Duke. “I … ]]> Fri, 28 Feb 2014 06:29:41 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25201506-556/mutka-lindner-recalls-high-octane-days-with-bartow.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25201506-556/mutka-lindner-recalls-high-octane-days-with-bartow.html <![CDATA[ Mutka: NWI talent elevates Michigan basketball duo ]]> Lead story image

No doubt about it, the state of Michigan rocks in basketball. Give Indiana imports an assist for the Big Ten’s dual dynasty. Leading off the M&M show: Michigan State is off to its best start in history with the help of Gary’s Branden Dawson and Gary Harris, who migrated from Central Indiana. Less than two years removed from ACL surgery, Dawson ranks among the top five in the Big Ten in rebounds and shooting percentage. Harris has overcome ankle issues, which cost him three games, to lead the Final Four prospects in scoring with a 17.6 average. Fittingly the 17-1 … ]]> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 06:29:17 -0500 http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25063649-556/mutka-nwi-talent-elevates-michigan-basketball-duo.html http://posttrib.suntimes.com/sports/mutka/25063649-556/mutka-nwi-talent-elevates-michigan-basketball-duo.html