For the first time in 35 years Don Klaas will not be leading the men's basketball team at College of DuPage. The Hall of Fame coach has announced his retirement, leaving as one of the winningest coaches in junior college history.
During his tenure at COD, Klaas had a record of 743-382, highlighted by his Division III National Championship team in 2001-02, the same year he was awarded the National Coach of the Year. Klaas was so successful at COD the school named its home court for him. He was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and the National Junior College Athletic Association Hall of Fame the following year.
The athletic department has given no hint as to who might succeed Klaas. While the regular season is still months away, the first scrimmages of the year usually take place in October. The Chaparrals are coming off a13-19 season.
Senior all-conference kick returner Justin Swider has been named the CCIW special teams player of the week. Swider helped lead Wheaton College to a 48-27 victory over Benedictine Saturday night with a combined return total of 146 yards and one touchdown.
With his team down 13-10 in the second quarter, Swider returned a Benedictine kickoff 93 yards into the end zone. The touchdown gave the Thunder a lead that would never be given back.
Following a dominating performance Saturday, North Central's John Crain has been named NCAA Division III men's cross country athlete of the week. In what may be a prelude to November, Crain finished the 5-mile course in 25:36, more than 15 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher at the Hanover College Madison Kiwanis Invitational.
The Cardinals hope to return to this same course in November for the national championships, where they look to win a third consecutive championship. Crain, an All-America, helped lead North Central to the invitational team title as well as his individual title. This is the first year that the athlete of the week is being named at a national level.
Two Benedictine athletes received conference recognition this week following strong performances. Both Candice Cuppini, volleyball, and Nikki Jhanji, soccer, were named NACC player of the week in their respective sport.
Cuppini helped lead the Eagles to a weekend sweep of North Central and Lake Forest with a combined 36 kills. The Eagles beat North Central in straight sets then downed Lake Forest 3-1 to sweep the annual Red and Black Triangular.
Jhanji, a senior forward for Benedictine, helped her team to a second-place finish at the Sal Vacarro tournament over the weekend. Jhanji scored three goals of her own during the tournament and was involved in all three goals during a 3-1 victory over North Central.