Decatur Tribune Online

J. Thomas McNamara
Sports Editor

Decatur Tribune
Email Tom at

Check out McNamara's "Irish Stew" every week in the print edition of the Decatur Tribune.
Columns Are Printed With The Most Recent Displayed First

Decatur Tribune Offices Are Located At:
132 South Water Street 
Suite 424
P. O. Box 1490
Decatur, Illinois 62523

Mon.-Thurs. 9:00-4:30 Phone: 217/422-9702
​Fax: 217/422-7320

Mac on Sports
Millikin Big Blue Volleyball Team
Had Great Season

   Despite what happened early last Friday evening in the Shirk Center on the Illinois Wesleyan University campus in Bloomington when Calvin College defeated Debbie Kiick's Big Blue in three straight sets, Millikin still had a great season.
    The defending national champions also ended Millikin's season a year ago in the regional finals.  Kiick's Big Blue team defeated Greenville in three straight sets last Thursday afternoon to advance to the regional second round.  Calvin moved on to its rematch against Millikin with its come-from-behind victory in the fifth set to beat Washington University, St. Louis.
    Four seniors have played their last volleyball for the Big Blue and what careers they had playing the game for Coach Kiick and the university.  They are Alora Godbey of Lincoln, Emily Mihalkanin of Willowbrook, Meredith Artime, who prepped at Decatur Christian, and Erin Syversen of Pewaukee, WI.
        Others on the Millikin volleyball team from Decatur and Macon County include freshman Brianna Niebrugge of St. Teresa sophomore Kelsey McAtee of Mount Zion, Marissa Holloway of MacArthur and Kankakee Community College and Meredith Artime's sister, Lauren, also from Decatur Christian.  Maddie Holland is a freshman from nearby Shelbyville, sophomore Abby Trott is from Bement and junior Emily Seegmiller is from Arthur.
        "I'm so proud of the many accomplishments of our team and players," responded Kiick to our request for comment on their season.  "While we are disappointed that we did not rise to the challenge presented to us in this game, we are proud of raising the bar of our program and hope our youngsters will fight hard to keep the Millikin volleyball tradition going."  

Check out "Irish Stew" in the Nov. 15th print edition of the Decatur Tribune for more on this story.    (Photo courtesy Kevin Krows and Millikin University)

Jim Minton: ‘Build The Home, Change The World’ 

He's a former MacArthur and St. Xavier college baseball and softball catcher with the Decatur Pride amateur fastpitch softball team.
    He's also a husband, father and grandfather, who knows a thing or two about parenting with sons JJ and Kurtis and daughter Emily, two grandsons (Noah and Elijah), and admits he's made some mistakes along the way which he encapsulates in his 50,000 word book.
    He is Jim Minton, investment adviser with Investment Planners Inc. of Decatur with 20 years experience there and 25 overall since he worked with Prudential for five years before joining Investment Planners.
    The idea for his book came from Rob Rienow, who is the Dad of RW Rienow, who is Kurtis's teammate at Olivet Nazarene, who advised Jim to go ahead with his book project.
    "Build the Home, Change the World." 
    That's the theme of the book that he's written that is in tune with the times in which we live.

       Check out full story and photo in Wednesday, Oct. 4th's print edition of the Decatur Tribune and J. Thomas McNamara's "Irish Stew"

Pairings for 48th Annual Team Soy Tourney Set
    We now know who will play whom and when at this year's 48th annual Team Soy Decatur Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament which has become a Decatur tradition.
    Along with the Ursula Beck USTA Pro Tennis Classic and the Decatur/Forsyth golf Classic, the Team Soy Decatur Thanksgiving tournament is among the Decatur treasures, thanks to the Becks and Charles Kuhle in the case of the tennis classic, Cyndi Deadrick-Wolfer of the Decatur-Forsyth Classic and Mel Roustio for the Team Soy Thanksgiving basketball tournament.  Of course, their successes are attributable to all their sponsors and the numerous volunteers it takes to run such events.
    Bolingbrook is this year's top-seed followed by two-seed Eisenhower, three-seed Champaign Central, four-seed Harvey Thornton, five-seed MacArthur, six-seed Springfield Southeast, seven-seed Peoria Central and eight-seed Mount Zion.  The coaches seeded the field.  Champaign Central is rejoining the tournament for one year before it hosts its own tournament the following year.
    So, Eisenhower opens play against Peoria Central Tuesday night Nov. 21st at 6 followed by Champaign Central against Springfield Southeast.  On Wednesday night, at 6 top-seed Bolingbrook meets Mount Zion followed by Harvey Thornton against MacArthur.
    Tuesday night's two winners collide at 6 Friday night with Wednesday night's two survivors following around 7:30.  The losers of Tuesday night's two games meet at 1 Friday afternoon in one of the two consolation bracket games with the Wednesday night's losers meeting at 2:30.
    And then on Saturday, the winners of Friday afternoon's two games meet at 2:30 with the others meeting at 1 o'clock.
    The third place Saturday night will find the two Friday night losers meeting followed by the title game at 7:30 featuring the two Friday night winners.  Bolingbrook is going after its third Team Soy tournament title and second consecutive after beating Eisenhower last November, 69-42.  Rob Brost's team also won the championship in 2008 when it defeated Southeast 73-71.  Bolingbrook also has finished second twice in 2013 and 2014.
    So, it has played in three of the last four years title games, 2013, 2014 and 2016 with MacArthur defeating Southeast in 2015 for the crown, 66-56.
    Bolingbrook is led by an electric trio of Division 1 guards--senior Kaleb Thornton and juniors Joseph Yesufu and Tyler Cochran.  
    Tim Finke, an Illinois recruit, who hasn't committed anywhere yet, leads Champaign Central, and MacArthur is led by the Brummett twins--Amir and Armon Brummett, who are going to play college football apparently instead of basketball, according to recent media reports.
    I will have more on this developing in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.

Henson to be Honored Dec. 16

    Lou Henson, the all-time winningest coach of both Illinois and New Mexico State basketball programs, will be honored Dec. 16 when the Illini face the Aggies in the United Center.
    Henson amassed a 423-224 record in 21 seasons with the Orange and Blue, highlighted by 12 NCAA Tournament appearances, a total of 15 postseason bids, and eleven 20-win seasons.  Henson's Illini won the 1984 Big Ten Championship and advanced to the Elite Eight.  His most successful season came with the Flyin' Illini, who won a then-school record 31 games and advanced to the 1989 NCAA Final Four.
    A 1955 graduate of New Mexico State, Henson coached 16 years between two stints at his alma mater, compiling a 289-152 mark.  He led New Mexico State to its lone Final Four appearance in 1970, and to a total of seven NCAA Tournaments and eight 20-win seasons overall.
    Over his entire 41-year career, Henson won 779 games; ranking 16th on the all-time NCAA wins list.  He is one of only four coaches in NCAA history to record 200-plus wins at two DI schools.  He also stands as one of just 14 coaches to lead two different teams to the Final Four. 
    Henson was inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015. His name adorns the courts in both Champaign and Las Cruces.
    Illinois and New Mexico State are under the direction of first-year head coaches.  Brad Underwood is now at the helm of an Illini squad that went 20-15 last season, advancing to the NIT Quarterfinal.  Chris Jans, meanwhile, takes over an Aggie team that participated in the NCAA Tournament after winning the WAC Tournament and compiling a 28-6 record.
    I will have more on this developing story in a future print edition of the Decatur Tribune.