Good luck, Tony! Yesterday it was announced that longtime University of Northern Iowa Head Coach Tony DiCecco has decided to step down for health reasons. He will continue to work with the Panthers athletic department, but in a different capacity.
You may remember Coach T from the BasketCases' in-depth coverage of the Terps' Loose Meat Sandwich Tour Coach T agreed to a home and home with the Terps (after better known Iowa teams declined) so that Coach B could bring her Natty-winning team to her home state and introduce them to some Iowa home-cooking and some Iowa values. After that game, Coach DiCecco told a reporter, "Yes . . . Maryland is as good as they say they are . . . I'm not really looking forward to going back (to College Park next season) because most of those kids will be the same kids in a year."
Now, we know you weren't looking forward to the return trip, Coach T, but did you really have to resign? Nah, we're just kidding. Actually, we're pretty amazed that Tony even managed to coach last December's game. Just last August, Coach T underwent quadruple bypass surgery . . . plus, he was diagnosed with diabetes four years ago. Despite these health problems, he still coached his Panthers through a successful and memorable season. Not only was it a season in which he saw his team face off against the defending champs, but it was one in which he saw his team move into the new McLeod Center and (probably the biggest thrill of all) he saw his team record a (crushing!) win over in-state rival, Iowa, for the first time in 31 years! So, what better time to make a graceful exit! Best of luck to you, Coach T, in whatever you do in this next phase of your life!
No doubt Coach Tony will be a hard act to follow, but, according to the DesMoines Register, there's at least one candidate for the head coaching job who comes with a pretty good pedigree. Let's put it this way . . . it's not impossible that when the Panthers arrive in College Park next season for the back half of that home and home, there could be two Coach Freses on the sidelines: Coach B (Frese) coaching the home team and Coach M (Frese) coaching the visitors. Brenda's sister, Marsha Frese, a former assistant to Brenda and now an assistant at Illinois, is being mentioned as a possible successor to Coach DiCecco. Now wouldn't that make for some interesting family dynamics!
* * * * * *
In other news . . . Former Maryland opponent #14 seed Marist (already the Cinderella team of this year's NCAA tourney after knocking off Ohio State) advanced to the Sweet Sixteen in Dayton by beating another former Maryland opponent, Middle Tennessee State. We didn't mix that up . . . Marist really did beat the Blue Raiders last night (handily!) --- the same Marist team that the Terps outscored by 23 in the first half and beat by 26 even with the Terps' starters spending most of second half on the bench. Yes, that Marist. Congratulations to the Red Foxes . . . now if you can only upset Tennessee next weekend, you may be rewarded with another shot at the Terrapins!
And more news of note . . . our sister ACC school, Florida State University, pulled a huge upset by beating #2 seed, Stanford --- on the Cardinal's home court! Wow . . . great job, 'Noles, way to represent the ACC! Good luck at the Sweet Sixteen in Fresno!
And, of course, we're not forgetting (how could we!) that tonight at 7 PM on ESPN2, the Terps take on Ole Miss with the winner (Go Terps!) heading to Dayton for the Sweet Sixteen.
Photo Credit: Des Moines Register