John Mutka

John Mutka worked full-time at the Post-Tribune for 40 years, covering such events as the 1980 Olympics in Los Angeles, three Final Fours, including Indiana’s …Read More

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  • MUTKA: Once-proud Wallace football died from benign neglect

    From the very beginning Lew Wallace was a football school. What I remember most about the Glen Park-based program was its hardy rosters forged from Eastern European roots. The early birds who experienced the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression didn’t rave about hoops until …Read More

  • MUTKA: Oakland blockbuster makes Lloyd McClendon’s job tougher

    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), …

  • MUTKA: Big Ten, 12, 14 officially welcomes Maryland, Rutgers

    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? …Read More

  • MUTKA: Craig Dedelow blooms from Indiana walk-on to part-time starter

    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 …

  • MUTKA: Jerrick Suiter skipped Blue Jays to spur Horned Frogs

    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 …Read More

  • MUTKA: Gary’s nomadic Uzelac thrived as gridiron coach

    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 …

  • Mutka: Matt Painter, Purdue seeking a coming of age

    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 …Read More

  • Mutka: Locals add pop to Indiana baseball

    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, …Read More

  • Mutka: ‘D’ priority for VU: eliminate big plays

    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 …Read More

  • MUTKA: Tailback riches shift Valparaiso’s offensive outlook

    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 …

  • MUTKA: LaPorte’s Greg Tonagel guides Indiana Wesleyan to national esteem

    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 …Read More

  • MUTKA: No wrestling generation gaps for Tsirtsis family

    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 …

  • MUTKA: Alec Peters ranks high on Valpo’s learning curve; Wisconsin on the rise

    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 …Read More

  • Schmack makes a pitch for Valpo baseball

    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 …Read More

  • MUTKA: March Madness infects balanced Big Ten

    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 …

  • MUTKA: Valpo, St. Joe’s hit football recruiting jackpot

    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. …Read More

  • MUTKA: German all-star Chris Ensminger helped launch Valpo hoops

    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 …Read More