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After one season as McCook Community College men’s basketball coach, Kyle Drennan is leaving to take over as Director of Basketball Operations at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

 

“This wasn’t my plan and it was a very difficult decision,” Drennan said. “My plan was to coach here for three or four years, establish myself and prove that I could coach at a high level.”

 

The UIC Flames compete in the Horizon League. Luke Yaklich was named coach on March 26. The Flames went 18-17 in the 2019-20 season, tied for fourth place in the Horizon League under former coach Steve McClain. As an assistant coach, Yaklich helped lead three collegiate programs – Texas, Michigan and Illinois State – to national postseason success.

 

“I’ve always wanted to live in Chicago and Coach Yaklich is someone I have a lot of respect for. He always told me if he ever got a D1 job, he wanted me to be part of his staff and the opportunity was just too good,”

 

"Kyle has worked incredibly hard throughout his journey into college basketball and has a wide variety of experiences with professional sports organizations and Division I athletics, as well as being a junior college head coach," said Yaklich, in a press release on the team’s web site.

 

“It is hard to see Coach Drennan go, but we understand it is hard to pass up on opportunity to be involved in a Division 1 program,” said Kelly Rippen, Area Vice President of Student Affairs and McCook Community College. “Coach Drennan loves the game of basketball and we knew his long-term goal was to work in a program full-time, and these opportunities don’t come about that often.”

 

“This was still a very difficult decision. I think with the players I’ve recruited plus the ones coming back that we would be even better next season with the goal of a Region IX championship,” Drennan said. “To give that up wasn’t easy, I had to sit down and talk to people about the direction I wanted to go, but at the end of the day my goal is to be a Division I coach, and this opportunity is the best one for that.”

 

“I’d like to thank Kyle for his work here and wish him the best in his future endeavors,” said MCC Athletic Director Jon Olsen. “I was impressed with Kyle’s work on the basketball court, he kept coaching up his guys the entire year and it showed with how well they played down the stretch.”

 

Drennan, who was hired in June of 2019, took over a program with no returning players on the active roster. He brought nine freshmen and three sophomore transfers to MCC as the team picked up momentum near the end of the season. The Indians went 15-16 and won five straight games to finish the regular season before hosting a first-round home game in the Region IX tournament (the first in 13 years), where the Indians beat Lamar Community College 89-64 – the first Region IX tournament win in 20 years. The Indians fell in the second round to No. 15 Western Wyoming

 

Prior to his time in McCook, Drennan served as the director of operations at McNeese State for a year. Before than he served as the director of scouting and operations with JUCO Advocate out of Austin, Texas, where he guided players to the junior college ranks assisting them to obtain scholarships from four-year programs. Drennan began coaching in 2015 as an assistant coach at Labette Community College in Parsons, Kan. He started his career in marketing with the Fenway Sports Group and the Salem Red Sox, a minor league baseball affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

 

“Coach Drennan has an incredible knack for recruiting and an ability to bring in talented players from all over the world,” Rippen said. “Although his time at MCC was short, I know he learned what being part of a college family was all about and I hope he will carry with him some great memories of MCC and the community. He will be a strong addition to the University of Illinois in Chicago and we wish him all the best.”  

 

According to Olsen, once the position is approved and advertised, a search committee will begin work on filling the position.

 

“I am excited for the process, it will be a highly sought after job again just as it was last time, the opportunity to be a head coach at this level is pretty special,” Olsen said. “McCook is a great place to work so we will have our work cut out for us but I’m sure it will be a great search.”

Drennan said his 10 months at McCook had a profound impact on him and while he said he had a great deal of fun coaching in McCook, it is the wide-spread kindness he experienced that will leave a lasting impression and a trait he hopes to carry with him.


“McCook itself is a special place. As someone who came from the outside I’m telling you McCook has the nicest people in the world and I experienced that throughout my 10 months 

here,” he said.

 

“I think sometimes you guys don’t know how special you are, and I told Kelly and Jon the same thing with regard to the college. I hope I can take that positive impact the people of McCook have had on me and take it with me and pass it on.”






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The McCook Community College softball team has signed its first recruit for the 2021 season.


Taylor Thein of West Branch, Iowa has signed her letter of intent to continue her softball in McCook next season.


Taylor’s strengths are her athleticism and speed. She brings versatility as she can play outfield or infield,” said MCC Softball Coach Kevin Kaalberg.


Within her school, she has been involved in many different activities and clubs including softball, basketball, soccer, track, student government, National Honor Society, co-editor in chief of her school newspaper, and was elected president of the student leadership activity team.


“I love being challenged to prove to myself that I can overcome obstacles,” she said.


She added that if she’s not playing a sport, you can find her fishing, hanging out with friends, or eating pizza.


Thein is not sure what she will study at MCC but, said “I am excited to start my journey as an Indian! Go Tribe!”






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UNDATED (AP) — Quarterback Tom Brady yesterday explained his decision to leave the New England Patriots for free agency, saying on SiriusXM’s “The Howard Stern Show” it was “just time” for a change. Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month after winning six Super Bowls with the Patriots. He reiterated he has no hard feelings about coach Bill Belichick (BEHL'-ih-chik) not making him a Patriot for life. Brady added that so many wrong assumptions were made about his relationship with Belichick, or about how Belichick felt about him.

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons are moving to black pants with black jerseys for their home uniforms in 2020. Those changes are part of a redesign the team says respects past fashion choices with updates “to match the modern progression of Atlanta.” The team's first redesign in 17 years also includes white jerseys and white pants for road uniforms. The Falcons will continue to use black helmets.

UNDATED (AP) — Real (ray-AL’) Madrid’s players and coaches have agreed to voluntarily reduce their salaries by at least 10% to help offset lost revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The club says the decision applies to its soccer and basketball teams. Some top club executives have agreed to take pay cuts that could reach 20% “depending on the circumstances that may affect” the rest of the season. Fellow Spanish league club Sevilla (say-VEE’-uh) also said Wednesday it would put its players and other employees on government furloughs to reduce labor costs during the pandemic.

UNDATED (AP) — Former Swiss women’s goalie Florence Schelling was named general manager of one of the nation’s top men’s professional teams, SC Bern. The 31-year-old Schelling becomes the first woman elevated to such a high-profile front-office personnel position of a men’s pro hockey team in Switzerland. Schelling’s hiring comes after spending the past year serving as coach of the Switzerland’s Under-18 women’s team. She takes over a franchise that missed the playoffs after winning the championship last season.

ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) — A groom who worked at Belmont Park has died from complications of coronavirus. The New York Racing Association says Martin Zapata died Tuesday, two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19 and 12 days after being hospitalized. The 63-year-old native of Panama had spent the past two years working for trainer Tom Morley in New York, which has been hard-hit by the pandemic.




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UNDATED (AP) — An eighth NHL player has tested positive for COVID-19. The league announced Tuesday that a third player from the Colorado Avalanche is in self-isolation and has not had close contact with teammates or Colorado staff members. The five other NHL players who tested positive all play for the Ottawa Senators. Meanwhile, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has raised the possibility of not being able to complete the regular season.

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea’s success in battling the coronavirus means a green light for the country’s baseball league. It is targeting an early May restart with teams ready to play preseason exhibition games as early as April 21. The country recorded 53 new infections, the third consecutive day that has seen new cases around the 50-mark. The league was scheduled to start play on March 28. 

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A productive member of Duke basketball squad is heading to the NBA. Freshman Cassius Stanley is entering the draft. The 6-foot-6 guard averaged 12.6 points and 4.9 rebounds for the Blue Devils. In a statement, Stanley says he believed the Blue Devils could have attained his goal of reaching the Final Four and contending for a national championship. But he noted that “the NBA values youth” in his decision to enter the draft.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Burton and Carl Edwards are among the new nominees for NASCAR’s next Hall of Fame class. Janet Guthrie returns as a nominee in the Landmark category after a one-year absence. There are three ballots: one for Modern candidates, one for Pioneer candidates and one for Landmark candidates. Two entries from the 10 Modern candidates will be elected, along with one entry apiece from the five-candidate Pioneer and Landmark categories.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all in for a new look in 2020. Building on momentum created by the signing of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady in free agency, the Bucs have unveiled new uniforms for next season. The new garb will be more traditional red, white and pewter - similar to the uniforms the team wore from 1997-2013, it’s most successful stretch.




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DETROIT (AP) — One of baseball’s best outfielders ever has died. A friend says Hall of Famer Al Kaline died Monday. Kaline, who was 86, spent his entire 22-season with the Detroit Tigers. The right fielder was a 15-time All-Star, won 10 Gold Gloves and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1980.

UNDATED (AP) — The NFL draft won’t be the usual flashy spectacle. It was to have been held in Las Vegas, but the league now says it will be conducted in a virtual format, with team personnel working from their homes. The NFL canceled all public events last month as a safeguard against the coronavirus. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s procedures for the April 23-25 draft include no group gatherings.

UNDATED (AP) — Like other pro sports leagues, the National Hockey League is considering various options to salvage its season. Play is on hold for now because of the coronavirus pandemic. Ideas under discussion include neutral site layoff games and awarding the Stanley Cup in September.

LONDON (AP) — Golf’s oldest tournament has joined the list of sporting events disrupted by the pandemic. For the first time since 1945, July’s British Open has been canceled. It will be held next year at Royal St. George. The 150th tournament will be held in 2022 at St. Andrews. U.S. tournaments are also being reshuffled. The Masters will be held two weeks before Thanksgiving.

NEW YORK (AP) — Another soccer scandal. A pair of former sports marketing executives have been indicted on charges they paid bribes to soccer officials to obtain confidential bidding information during FIFA’s sale of U.S. television rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Charges have been unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn against former 21st Century Fox Inc. executives Hernan Lopez and Carlos Martinez.




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Volleyball standout Jordan Larson was announced as the second member of the 2020 University of Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame class on Wednesday, April 1. Larson is the first of five student-athletes in the 2020 class to be recognized. Volleyball head coach Terry Pettit was announced as the first member of the 2020 Hall of Fame class on March 31.

A native of Hooper, Nebraska, Larson was a standout on some of the greatest teams in program history from 2005 to 2008. She helped Nebraska to a top-five NCAA Tournament finish in each of her four seasons. The Huskers went 127-8 during her career with four Big 12 Conference titles and three trips to the NCAA Semifinals, including the 2006 national title and a runner-up finish in 2005.

Individually, Larson was an All-American on the court and in the classroom. She was a three-time All-American and a two-time first-team All-American. At the conference level, Larson was a two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and the 2008 Big 12 Player of the Year. She was also an Academic All-American as a senior. Larson finished her Husker career with 1,600 kills, 1,410 digs and a school-record 186 aces. She is currently one of only two players in program history to rank among Nebraska’s all-time top 10 in both kills and digs.

Larson then went on to a decorated international career. She was a two-time Olympic medalist, helping Team USA to a silver medal in 2012 and a bronze medal in 2016. Larson helped Team USA win the gold medal at the 2014 world championships, the first-ever major tournament gold medal for the U.S. women’s national team. Larson was then named USA Volleyball’s Indoor Female Player of the Year in both 2015 and 2016.

The remaining four student-athletes in the 2020 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Class will be announced over the next few weeks on the official Nebraska Athletics Twitter account (@Huskers) and on Huskers.com.

2020 Nebraska Athletic Hall of Fame Class

Terry Pettit, Volleyball Head Coach (1977-99)
Jordan Larson, Volleyball (2005-08)
Four more student-athletes to be announced
 
Jordan Larson, Volleyball (2005-08), Hooper, Nebraska

Jordan Larson led Nebraska to an outstanding four-year run on the volleyball court before continuing on to a stellar international career. The Huskers went 127-8 (.941) during Larson’s four-year career, winning the Big 12 Conference championship and posting a top-five NCAA finish in each of her four seasons. After an NCAA runner-up finish in her freshman year when she was the regional freshman of the year, Larson was a first-team All-American and the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year as a sophomore. That season, the Huskers won the 2006 NCAA title in Omaha in front of what was then the largest volleyball crowd in NCAA history. After earning third-team All-America honors as Nebraska made a regional final in 2007, Larson was a first-team All-American again in 2008. As a captain that season, Larson helped Nebraska advance to its third NCAA Semifinal in four years, where the Huskers lost a 3-2 thriller to Penn State, handing the Nittany Lions their only two set losses of the entire season. Larson was also the 2008 Big 12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year and a second-team Academic All-American. Larson finished her career with 1,600 kills, 1,410 digs and a school-record 186 aces. Following her time as a Husker, Larson represented the United States in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. She was a silver medalist in 2012 and bronze medalist in 2016, becoming the only Husker volleyball player to be a two-time Olympic medalist. Larson was named USA Volleyball’s Indoor Female Player of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. In 2014, she helped Team USA win the gold medal at the world championships, the first-ever major tournament gold medal for the U.S. women’s national team. Her No. 10 jersey is retired, and Larson graduated with a degree in communication studies from the University of Nebraska in 2008.




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UNDATED (AP) — NFL owners are continuing to plan for the 2020 season to begin on time. But they’ve adopted changes in how the season will end. They voted to modify the playoff format with two additional wild-card teams in the Super Bowl chase. The playoffs will be expanded by one team in each conference for a total of 14. The 16-game season and full playoffs would include the two stadiums still under construction in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, plus international games in England and Mexico.

LAKE FOREST, Ill (AP) — The Chicago Bears have finalized a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for 2018 Super Bowl MVP quarterback Nick Foles. The Bears are hoping Foles will return to form following an injury-riddled season with Jacksonville. Foles would give them another option if Mitchell Trubisky struggles again or gets hurt next year. The Jaguars parted with the 31-year-old Foles just over a year after signing him to a four-year contract. Foles helped Philadelphia win a Super Bowl.

SAN JOSE, Calif (AP) —San Jose Sharks President Jonathan Becher says the team made the best decision with the information at the time when it played three home games following a recommendation by the county against large gatherings in early March. Santa Clara County issued a recommendation on March 5 that mass gatherings should be postponed or canceled to control the spread of the new coronavirus.

UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA's popular decision to extend spring sports athletes' eligibility a year because of the coronavirus pandemic is causing consternation for baseball coaches. Baseball is the only spring sport with a roster limit. Teams can have no more than 35 players, though that rule will be relaxed in 2021. The problem comes in 2022. Looming roster logjams because of the extended eligibility could force coaches to sign smaller recruiting classes and nudge underperforming players to transfer or quit.

UNDATED (AP) — They can’t face off on the hardwood right now, so Kevin Durant and Trae Young will lead a 16-player field of NBA players in an NBA 2K20 tournament airing on ESPN. The NBA, the players’ association and 2K have announced the NBA 2K Players Tournament. Play begins Friday, and the winner of the week-long competition will receive a $100,000 donation to a coronavirus-related relief effort of their choice.




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STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State forward Reggie Perry has entered the NBA draft, saying it’s time to continue to the next level of basketball as a professional. The 6-foot-10 sophomore was selected as The Associated Press Co-Southeastern Conference player of the year after ranking in the top 10 of several conference categories. Perry led the SEC in rebounds last season with 10.1 per game, ranked sixth in scoring at 17.4 points and ninth in blocks with 1.2.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona State junior point guard Remy Martin has declared for the NBA draft, saying he’s decided to take another step into making his dream a reality. Martin led the Sun Devils with 19.1 points. 4.1 assists and 3.1 rebounds in 2019-20, putting them on the cusp of a third straight NCAA Tournament appearance before the college basketball postseason was halted by the coronavirus. He was named first team all-Pac-12 by The Associated Press.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Michigan forward Isaiah Livers is applying for early entry into the NBA draft, but the school said he is not hiring an agent and would work with the Wolverines coaching staff during the evaluation and pre-draft processes. Even if a player does use an agent during the evaluation process, he can return to school without losing eligibility if he ends the relationship with the agent. Livers averaged 12.9 points for the Wolverines this past season and was limited to 21 games due to injury problems.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A woman who said she was sexually assaulted by a Michigan State basketball player is asking the Michigan attorney general's office to investigate, according to a published report. ESPN is reporting that Michigan State University police told prosecutors they had probable cause that sophomore guard Brock Washington raped the woman on Jan. 19 while she was too intoxicated to consent. Police referred the case to county prosecutors, who declined to file charges this month.

ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) — Free-agent punter Sam Martin has become the third Detroit Lions player to sign with the Denver Broncos this month, accepting a three-year, $7 million contract. He joins former Detroit teammates Graham Glasgow and Jeff Driskel in Denver. Martin has averaged 46 yards per punt with a 40.9-yard net average, 38 touchbacks and 175 punts inside the 20-yard line during his seven NFL seasons.




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The GNAC conference would like to announce the following changes for the 2020/21 school year.  In October 2019, Columbus High School applied and was accepted to the Heartland Athletic Conference (HAC).  The following schools will remain in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference for the 2020/21 school year: Hastings, McCook, North Platte, Gering and Scottsbluff.  Due to the re-alignment of the conference, the tournament schedule will be reduced to the following tournaments: Boys’ Tennis, Girls’ Tennis, Boys’ Golf, Girls’ Golf, Swimming/Diving, and Track and Field.  






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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — DeMarcus Robinson has accepted a one-year deal with the Kansas City Chiefs, who are maintaining an aerial attack that includes receivers Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman. Robinson grabbed 32 passes for 449 yards and four touchdowns last season, his fourth since being taken by the Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. Although Watkins is signed through next season, he may be asked to restructure his hefty contract or take a pay cut in the coming days.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — The Detroit Lions have agreed to terms with wide receiver Geronimo Allison. The 26-year-old Allison comes to Detroit from division rival Green Bay, where he caught 34 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns last season. Allison played the past four seasons with the Packers and joins a team that includes receivers Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and Danny Amendola each of whom surpassed 60 catches and 600 yards receiving in 2019.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Timmy Hill won yesterday’s virtual race at Texas Motor Speedway, the second in an iRacing series thrown together after NASCAR's 36-race season was suspended four events into the year. Hill is considered among the top competitors in iRacing, a subscription-based gaming platform. His virtual victory was his 674th in the game. One highlight came when Daniel Suarez was parked by iRacing officials for intentionally trying but failing to crash Ty Dillon.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Georgetown sophomore guard Mac McClung has announced that he is declaring for the NBA draft after averaging 15.7 points and 2.4 assists for the Hoyas this past season. However, he is maintaining his college eligibility in case he decides to stay at Georgetown. McClung missed time because of a right foot injury this year and appeared in only 21 of Georgetown's 32 games. He averaged 13.1 points as a freshman.

SEATTLE (AP) — The University of Washington has announced that former Huskies football coach Jim Lambright has died at age 77. Lambright spent nearly four decades associated with the Washington program as a player, assistant coach and head coach. He was 44-25-1 as the Huskies head coach and never had a losing record but was fired following the 1998 season. Washington’s best season under Lambright came in 1995 when it shared the Pac-10 title but missed out on a trip to the Rose Bowl.




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