Hawks Top Michigan 75-59

Marble on a rebound in the second half. (Photo credit Matt Holst, hawkcentral.com)

IOWA CITY, IA— The Iowa men’s basketball team beat No. 13 Ranked Michigan Saturday afternoon, 75-59.  The Hawkeyes gave up the lead only once to the Wolverines, but found themselves with a comfortable 10-point cushion for a majority of the second half.

The Wolverine’s pulled starting guard, Trey Burke, early in the first after he quickly piled up two fouls, but head coach John Beilein does not attribute Burke’s absence from the court to the teams’ lack-luster performance.  “We took a couple hope threes and threw a couple hope passes that led to the eight turnovers in the first half, they weren’t because we didn’t have our point guard,” said Beilein, “We couldn’t string anything together.”

Four Hawkeyes ended the game in double digits, Aaron White with 12, Zach McCabe with 11, Roy Devyn Marble with 13, and Matt Gatens with 19 points.   Despite McCabe’s performance on the board, head coach Fran McCafferey did not start McCabe or Eric May in the second. “They didn’t play well up there.  They didn’t.  You don’t have to tell them.  They know.”

But Gatens was the real life of the game, bringing Carver to their feet multiple times with four of the Hawkeyes five 3-pointers of the day.  McCafferey was very pleased with the senior, saying of Gatens’ game, “just an incredibly complete game with phenomenal effort focusing concentration and I’m really proud of him.”  Gatens did struggle offensively at the start, missing eight attempted FG, but kept faith in his shot, “I was always told, shoot to get hot, to stay hot.”

The Hawkeyes will take on the Boilermakers at Purdue on Tuesday at 7:00pm.  McCabe says that the Hawks need to stay hungry, “we can’t be satisfied with just beating a ranked team, we need to know that we’re experienced and we can beat teams like [Michigan] every night.”

Photo credit: Matt Holst, hawkcentral.com


Incomplete: Iowa v Michigan

Cold and windy conditions were expected in Iowa City, but after Iowa’s 22-21 loss to Minnesota last week, a win over #13 ranked Michigan was not in the forecast for football fans.  Iowa delivered, never giving up the lead and winning it all 24-16.  This is the first time in the series Iowa has beaten the Michigan Wolverines three years in a row.

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz doubts the Hawks had the loss last week completely out of their minds, but James Vandenburg thinks the defeat helped his teammates to focus, “I think we knew we didn’t play as well as we could have last week, and we knew this was a good team coming in here, but we feel like we can play with anybody, we just have to play well.”

Iowa has to feel good about holding the lead throughout, but the big debate is whether Iowa won, or Michigan lost.  The Hawks definitely stepped up the defense this week, especially in the red zone, which they’ve actually been pretty consistent with this season, but something has got to be said about Denard Robinson’s game today.

Robinson totaled thirty-eight incomplete passes Saturday afternoon, some of course to the credit of the Hawks defense, Broderick Binns with a career high three pass breaks-ups, but in the fourth, the Hawks were just getting lucky.  Robinson threw twelve incomplete passes in the last 10 minutes of the game, some that would have been worth some serious yardage.

Vincent Smith also made jaws and stomachs drop when he emerged sprinting from a tackle and kept running for the goal line!  Officials actually called the touchdown while everyone in the stadium, save Michigan fans, stood dumbfounded and all play had stopped mid-field. The play was recalled after review finding Smith’s right elbow was down at the twenty-nine.  Phew.

But none of these “hold your breath moments” even compared to the last sixteen seconds… 3 yards from the Wolverine goal line, with a first down:

Robinson to Hemingway incomplete.

Robinson to Hemingway… incomplete?  The second and goal play was under review after Hemingway actually made the catch juuussst out of bounds.  Again, Hawks got lucky and the ruling on the field stood, incomplete.

Robinson to Smith incomplete.

Robinson to Roundtree incomplete, pass broken up by Iowa’s B.J. Lowery.

Hawks win 24-16.

The Hawkeyes could easily set their eyes too far into the future, but Coach Ferentz says thinking about a division title now would be idiotic, “What we’ve got to do is worry about next week, so I hope we don’t have any idiots on our team.”  Marvin McNutt is also keen on holding focus and not letting this win, and especially games like last week’s distract his team, “knowing you have four weeks left you know not to put your head down and give up, you have to keep going.”

Iowa had a good game Saturday, and a lot of things came together that were just absent in Minnesota last week, but the Hawks are going to need to keep up the energy and rally for next weeks match-up with Michigan State.  The Spartans won their game Saturday 31-24 against Minnesota after trailing the Gophers for a good portion of the game.  Michigan State is ranked No. 17 in the BCS.

NOTE: DE Dominic Alvis went down in the fourth with an ACL injury.

Coach Ferentz on Alvis: “We lost him to an ACL injury. The only thing that would have been worse is if he was s senior, but you hate for any player to deal with something that’s going to require surgery and rehab and all those types of things.  He’s a young guy that’s been working really hard and playing a lot better and improving each week, so it’s a loss to our team, but our thoughts are more so with him right now.”

Tim Dwight

Iowa City native, Tim Dwight, began his football career as a Hawkeye before he charged on to play professionally for multiple NFL teams around the country.  Through his many transitions over the years, Dwight has always stood by his philosophy of preparation, “be ready, that’s what I would always say,” Dwight explains.

After almost a decade in the NFL, Dwight recognized an opportunity to leave his football days behind him.  “I was ready to be done,” says Dwight about the transition.

Dwight recognizes that he had an easier time than many professional athletes adjusting to life outside of the stadium because he immediately threw himself into a career that roused the same passion in him that he felt towards playing football.  “I wanted to find something that was new, I wanted the challenge,” says Dwight.

The former wide receiver discovered the green energy industry early after the end of his NFL career and instantly identified his connection to working towards spreading awareness of green energy technologies and sustainability.  “I like this, it makes me feel better,” says Dwight about his new line of work “I want to empower people to do this for themselves.”

Dwight compares the challenge of being “the new kid on the block” in the green energy industry with the same obstacles he faced when first starting out as the “new kid” in the NFL, but it was a challenge he welcomed just the same, and this time he has even more to gain, “I feel like I’m helping people,” says Dwight about his new life.

Fast and unexpected transitions from team to team and city to city are a regular part of life for a professional athlete, the largest and most difficult of these transitions often being the final move out of the NFL, but for Dwight, the right move came at the right time and he thinks himself better for it.  “I saw the opportunity, and it’s just taken me on this path,” Dwight reflects happily.

Replay Team.

Every time Kinnick Stadium roars with excitement as images of the Iowa Hawkeyes walking down the infamous stretch of tunnel flash on the big screen high above the crowd, another university team has already been hard at work for hours.

Jim Berg has been directing media and instant replay operations in the belly of Kinnick Stadium for fifteen years, and even with all that experience, Berg admits, “the hardest part of the whole day is getting to the game.”

Hours of preparation and planning go into every Hawkeye home football game and Berg counts on his staff to pull through every weekend.   In a cramped cement room with no windows beneath the stadium, Berg and his team of seven control all aspects of Kinnick Stadiums media screens and audio.  Over $800,000 worth of equipment is put to use to bring fans instant replays, live statistics, and the beloved Pancheros’ “Burrito Lift.”

Berg explains that he does most of the talking on game day, directing and calling cues to his staff.  It’s a fast paced and high-energy job and Berg says there is a lot of what he likes to call, “friendly yelling.”

There is not a lot of turnover amongst the small staff, though Berg claims there is high demand for positions on his crew.  The loyalty of his staff has allowed for Berg to communicate almost instinctively with his team without words through body language and mere eye contact.  “Everybody has to know where we’re going when and how we’re getting there,” explains Berg.

Berg arrives at the underground studio around 6:00 a.m. for a typical 11:00 a.m game and immediately sets to work.  There are few rules in Berg’s studio, the most important he says is no drinking, “If I can wait, you can wait.”  The studio receives many visitors throughout the season, and it is important that they crew keep a professional appearance. “We do feel like we’re on display sometimes,” says Berg, joking that the staff often compares their office to living in a zoo, “people come down to see what we’re all about.”

Berg has not missed a home football game for Iowa since 1982 when he first came to the University of Iowa and joined the marching band as a part time student.  Today, he continues to lead a dedicated staff who are thankful to have a job doing something they love, “we always remind ourselves that its sports,” says Berg.

Among the scores of buttons and switches hugging the corners of every inch of the room, a big red “Easy Button” toy sits amongst the switch boards, which Berg says comes in handy when things get difficult.  The key to having a successful environment is to not get bogged down about mistakes, because that only leads to more mistakes says Berg.

By the time the Hawkeyes reach the field, the big screen and instant replay staff have already been in playing their own game for an hour and a half.  The anticipation is always there to make sure the crew has set up everything correctly before the game even starts, “the kickoff is almost a relief,” says Berg.

On the Rocks.

Iowa City, IOWA—David Patton sprang up from his office chair to point out a framed newspaper clipping on the opposite wall.  Tracing his finger over a photograph of huge shafts of rock, reminiscent of a tree hit by lightening, which stretched into the sky, he quickly recalled the familiar routes of the vertical climb before proudly pointing out a small figure clinging to the rock face, “That’s my wife there.”  Patton settled back into his seat and continued the account of his first trip up those cliffs, the day he saved a man’s life.

It’s all come full circle for Patton, who grew up in Iowa City, and graduated from the University of Iowa where he worked with the almost non-existent Outdoor Program as an undergrad.   “There was no rental center, no trips, and no building,” recalled Patton.

After graduation, Patton and his new fiancé, whom he met in the Outdoor Program at Iowa, rented out their house, moved into their truck, and embarked on a 10 month road trip around the country doing what they loved, rock climbing,

Patton has been rock climbing since he was fifteen years old, allowing the sport to become his passion and major part of his life’s work.  The sport requires more than just physical strength, it’s breathing, footwork, and mental control.  “It’s a personal challenge, I like connecting to myself,” explained Patton, “the trick is not to be scared, but motivated by the fear.”

Over the past few years Patton played a key role in the planning and building of the new $350,000 climbing wall in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC).  “That’s my baby,” said Patton who was there for every part of the process from choosing the company to creating the different routes of the wall.  Patton recalls that the build team was shocked when he stepped in to direct the project; rarely is there anyone involved on the users’ end.

Patton knew it was important to create a climbing wall for climbers of all skill levels because the sport is so personal.  “Whether you are on the hardest or the easiest route, you are still challenged in the same way,” explained Patton who finds that being able to stay connected to the beginning level is what makes you stronger.

As a guide, Patton advocates for teaching others on the trip the skills they need to take care of themselves and admits “I don’t want to be the guide.”  Every trip Patton leads is based around safety, fun and education.  “It’s the life skills that transfer back to everyday life at the end of the process that matter,” notes Patton saying that often the hardest part of a trip is when it ends.

Safety is always a concern with outdoor adventures, and Patton’s Wilderness First Responder (WFR) training has come into play more than once.

Patton pounded his hand on his desk to mimic the loud thud of a man’s body hitting solid rock and faintly called out “we’ve got a man down” the way a fellow rock climber had years ago.  Recanting how he left his own group to save a man he didn’t even know, Patton’s eyes were focused as he bent over in his chair remembering how he hovered over the fallen climber, creating make-shift braces before lowing him down the cliffs.

“I mean, this guy was dying.”

“And you saved him?”

“I saved him.”

For Patton, outdoor adventure programs and trips are about the experience, the debrief, what has been learned, and what can be improved.  Finding flaws in the system is only half the battle (though Patton jokingly claims his own is flawless).   Each new experience takes a person back to the beginning where they started out.  “The more you get into it, the more you don’t know,” says Patton.

Positive Goals

IOWA CITY, IA—UI Sophomore, Dave Svac, does not remember his first hockey game, but that is because he was only six months old the first time his parents suited him up to go see a Pittsburg Penguins game.  “My mom was scared to death that I would get hit with a puck,” explains Svac, whose life today brings him in and out of hockey rinks year-round.

“I was the quiet one in the locker room,” admits Svac who joined the University of Iowa Hockey Club Team his freshman year, but this humble demeanor did not stop the young athlete from stepping right up into the position as president of the club.

Svac insists his motivation behind stepping up to the large responsibilities comes from his deep rooted desire to improve the team and strengthen the organization. Almost the entire board was made up of graduating seniors and Svac says “I wanted to make sure that as a club that we didn’t break down after they left.”

Since his time helping to run the club team, Svac says he has focused a lot of his energies on giving back.  The club hosts youth hockey camps throughout the year where players are not required to act as instructors, but many choose to participate as encouraged by Svac’s positive mentality.  “I want them to have the great experiences that I had.”

Svac, like many amateur and professional hockey players, began his career on the ice when he was only four years old.  Svac notes the importance of starting out early and developing the necessary core skills of the game (like skating) is another aspect of why he enjoys the youth hockey programs the club offers.

“In their eyes [the kids], we’re NHL players,” says Svac, who explained that between the relationships they built with the young players who attend the camps and the support from the parents, it’s just a great feeling to be a part of their experience.  The club team even hosts miniature autograph signing sessions at the end of the camps, which are always well received by the youth.

Looking ahead, Svac continues to express his positive attitude towards building the club and building the name.  Several projects are in the lineup for the team, some more readily attainable than others including the addition of a charter bus contract with Lamers Bus Lines for all away games this upcoming year.

The biggest jump for the hockey club team is going to that of attaining Division 1 and then NCAA status.  Svac acknowledges that even this first step is at least ten years down the road, but that has not impeded his desire to motivate the team forward.  “Keep everybody positive and get them to see the bigger thing,” says Svac in regards to his future trials as president of the club.

Hockey has always been a huge part of Svac’s life, who appreciates the opportunities he has been given to share the sport with his family and friends growing up.  Today his focus is on giving back to his team and working to accelerate the club program forward towards its lofty goals down the road past his time here at Iowa.  “It doesn’t matter that it’s not for us,” explains Svac “I’d rather be the one that started it.”

No Wasted Space

The University of Iowa campus is no stranger to the construction and renovation of its many athletic facilities, having seen the completion of over $115 million dollars worth of projects over the past ten years.  The design and planning of these facilities is no small venture and can take years of preparation, “What’s interesting is a lot of times people think that when they start hearing about a facility, that’s the first point where we have started to work on it, and that’s usually not the case,” explains Director of Athletics at the University of Iowa, Gary Barta.

Barta explains that the plan for any new facility begins far in advance with a master facilities plan, “It tries to project out advanced planning on things that we see on the horizon.”

Projects the Athletics Department at the University of Iowa currently have on their radar include a new men’s and women’s gymnastics practice facility, a new indoor golf practice facility, as well as the replacement of the indoor practice facility, more fondly referred to as “the bubble.”

Much like the other projects that have preceded these future blueprints, many factors were taken into account when decided what is coming next for UI Athletics, “You take into account need, you take into account ability to pay for it, how many student athletes it affects, and how it affects the department,” says Barta in considering which projects are on the agenda.

The most crucial aspect of any project the Athletics Department moves forward with is the ability to fund the project, “It’s impossible to think about our next projects without thinking about how we are going to pay for them,” explains Barta, “athletics is a self sustaining entity, so anything the Athletic Department does, we have to raise or generate all the money for it.”

Senior Associate Director of Athletics, Jane C. Meyer, has served as the overseer and main contact for all facilities projects and operations since her arrival to the University of Iowa in 2001.  Meyer sees her involvement in these facility projects as being all about making a difference in the lives of the student athletes and coaches at UI and takes no credit for the impact these programs have on the campus, “I’m simply the conduit to get it done…this is about what our department and the goodness of our donors are doing to benefit our student athletes and coaches.”

Meyer believes in focusing on how these projects can benefit the department as a whole, and sees future ventures as further opportunities for collaboration, expansion, and improved efficiency.  Taking the future of “the bubble” into consideration and hopes for its improved design, Meyer states, “In the end we’ll have a much more functional, much more energy efficient facility, and since we pay all our own bills that’s really important.”

The incorporation of more brand-new athletic facilities now has the Athletic Department with a changed approach to the just simply the replacement of aging athletic amenities, “Now what we have to do is make sure that we maintain these facilities and put together a plan so we can make sure they continue to be first class, very functional facilities,” says Meyer.

“I think something that we are really good at here at Iowa is building very functional efficient buildings,” explains Meyer.  This functionality has come into play recently with the renovations currently underway at Carver Hawkeye Arena, where the 1,800 sq. ft. athletic weight room is being replaced with an 11,000 sq. ft. strength and conditioning space large enough to accommodate the needs of any team.  “The strength and conditioning space that we are building in Carver Hawkeye Arena is going to impact absolutely every team,” boasts Meyer, explaining that this is truly an example of how the department moves forward with projects that will genuinely benefit the student athletes and coaches time here at the University of Iowa.

Of course when most pursuits are multi-million dollar pursuits, not everyone’s needs can be satisfied, but the Athletic Department prides itself on its level of constant communication between its teams to ensure that everyone’s voice is being heard.  “I would be surprised if we weren’t aware of the needs that every sport has whether we were able to fulfill them or not, I think we generally know what they are,” explains Barta.

Once projects do get the go ahead for design, sometimes certain cutbacks must be made in the initial design to fit the budget for the project, “Anytime you build a new building, there is a need, and then there are probably desires beyond just straight need,” says Barta who acknowledges that there is a balancing act of sorts between true needs and what can be sacrificed from the project, “at the end of the day you can only build what you can afford.”

Collaboration with University Recreation Services is one way that the Athletic Department has been able to curb the burden of taking on the entire cost of developing new athletic facilities on campus and has benefitted both groups over past years, with the most recent collaboration being the new Campus Recreation and Wellness Center (CRWC).

When the Athletics Department was looking towards creating a new aquatics facility, but were short on funds to build to their full desires, a matchup with Recreation Services turned a potential 9 million dollar pool facility project into the 25 million dollar reality for which both athletic programs and recreational activities enjoy the benefits.

Director of Recreational Services, Harry Ostrander, maintains order over the use of all athletic facilities at the University of Iowa, including dual partnership collaboration buildings like the CRWC, where both athletic and recreation groups have primary use interests.

Ostrander recently sat down at the annual April scheduling meeting, where he works with other administrators to establish priorities for the upcoming year for all athletic, academic, and recreational use of the athletic facilities on campus.

While it has not always been this way, Ostrander says that his job in upholding order and collaboration between the different groups has helped to ensure the university does not waste money on building unnecessary facilities.  “At the University of Iowa we’ve always had a very cooperative working relationship with the Intercollegiate Athletic Department and we end up sharing a lot of facilities together so that we’re not duplicating a lot of facilities.”

There is always much competition for use of athletic space between the three primary user groups (athletics, academic physical education, and recreation), but Ostrander says that the system his department put in place 40 years ago for scheduling the space has worked very well at eliminating conflict.

“The centralized scheduling system says this: that ALL facilities are University facilities they’re not athletic facilities, they’re not recreation facilities, they’re not PE facilities, first and foremost, they are university facilities,” explains Ostrander.

Shared use of space and the schedule, which Ostrander enforces has greatly altered the past system, which Ostrander explains, “When I first started, it was a nightmare.”    Having the buildings to house your student athletes, both Division 1, club, and intramural is one thing, but without a system to organize the space’s use, disarray is eminent.  “If you don’t have a good framework like this to work with, and you’re just shooting from hip and everything, then that’s when all these conflicts occur and feelings get hurt and then you get the issues between the different units,” says Ostrander.

Ostrander recognizes the importance of collaboration at the University of Iowa and how it has helped the groups on campus concerned with athletic space to achieve their individual goals, “We both get bigger and better facilities that we wouldn’t have had individually,” say Ostrander in regards to the CRWC, “by incorporating the needs of both athletics and recreation, we have a better facility for both athletics and for our general students.”

Ultimately, both the Athletic Department and the Recreational Services Department recognize that there are still many projects on the horizon, but it will be continuously important to maintain the constant communication that goes into fair scheduling between existing facilities to ensure that no space is wasted.