Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard everyone here at the Pants sing the praises of Rick Heller and the Hawkeye baseball team. I’m here to unabashedly do the same, and give a good ol’ fashioned thank you to Heller & Co. for the performance over the weekend in the Big Ten Tournament. Everything he has done since taking over the program four years ago has been nothing short of impressive, and a boost to the athletic department. It’s nice when we can celebrate a Big Ten title, isn’t it?
While Iowa isn’t a baseball school and the Big Ten not a baseball conference, Heller’s put this program on the national radar with back-to-back impressive postseason runs. A few conference championship appearances with a brand of ball that’s plain fun to watch will do that.
At the beginning of his tenure, it was station to station play focused on grinding out runs. This season was the year of the long ball with slugger Jake Adams. A tip of the cap to you, Mr. Adams, for your performance in the title game as well.
It was really cool to see the raw emotion of Heller and his players after and during the game. One of my favorite parts about non-revenue sports is when athletes and coaches have their time in the spotlight. They’re generally not as Ferentzian and haven’t spent as many hours getting coached up by the PR professionals as the major sports do, and come off as thankful for the attention they receive. Hawkeye baseball was no exception Sunday, and it was great to see this squad dog pile after the first conference tourney crown in program history.
"This goes out to Hawkeye Nation...the best fans in the world."— Iowa On BTN (@IowaOnBTN) May 28, 2017
- Coach Heller following the B1G Tourney title: https://t.co/bBPjiLr37h
Thanks to Ryan Erickson, Mason McCoy, Chris Whelan, Robert Neustrom, et. al. for a memorable weekend of baseball, it’s one Hawkeyes around the nation will remember for a long while.
How about the squad does it again in the Houston Regional?
Over in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Lisa Bluder hired herself a new assistant coach Tuesday. Former Central Michigan assistant Raina Harmon will fill the void left by Lacey Goldwire, who left for an assistant job at Arkansas in April.
Harmon will work primarily with perimeter players and be in charge of scouting. She helped the Chippewas to four postseason berths — three WNIT, one NCAA Tournament — during her five-year tenure. She was the Director of Women’s Basketball Ops from at Michigan prior to CMU from 2010-12.
Welcome aboard, Ms. Harmon.
Oh, and while we’re in the spirit of thanking people, I’d like to thank the women’s hoops all time leading scorer, Ally Disterhoft, for an incredible four-year run.
As is custom, a few links before we let you go.
- Jeb Bush is no longer in the group trying to buy the Miami Marlins. Derek Jeter is reportedly still in the deal. That partnership was just too good to be true.
- The LA Clippers are reportedly trying to hire the NBA’s logo-sake, Jerry West, away from the Warriors, where he serves in advisory role. What say you, commenters, Cavs or Dubs?
- The White Sox trolled Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale with a throwback jersey ad in Tuesday night’s contest.
- And finally, much to the liking of resident Wolves fan Ben Ross, the Iowa Energy are now the Iowa Wolves, and the rebrand is pretty slick if I do say so myself.