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An Illini Fan's View

by Teri Ranks

April 22nd, 2003

I feel like Iíve been dumped.

When I was in college, I dated a guy for about six months and I really liked him. That is until he dumped me on Christmas Day for a girl I couldnít stand to be around. Not only did he break my heart, but he did it on a holiday, and he rubbed salt in my wounds by asking out the other girl on the same day. Here I am, six years later, and I feel like itís happening to me all over again. I feel like Iím being dumped on Easter Sunday for the girl I canít stand.

Illinois menís basketball head coach Bill Self ďdumpedĒ the Illini for the Kansas Jayhawks after a three year relationship with the Illini Nation. I think thatís why it hurts more than when my boyfriend dumped me - this relationship was longer and it was shared by thousands who bleed orange and blue.

Losing to Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament last month stung, but we looked ahead to our future with Self and a top five recruiting class. Suddenly weíre left orphaned and wondering if our top five recruiting class will remain a top five or drop down to mediocre. Weíre wondering if our new coach will love Illinois like we do or if heíll just use it as a stepping stone before going to Kentucky or the NBA.

Bill SelfIíll admit, Iím bitter right now. I wish I could be a ďclassyĒ fan and wish Self all the best at his new job, but I canít. I couldnít wish my ex-boyfriend a long, happy relationship with the new girl either. So, as I do with any breakup, Iím taking down my framed pictures with Self and Iím removing all posters and pictures that have been signed by him. Iím tucking them away in a little box I can hide in my closet or under my bed, and someday when my heart has healed, Iíll take out the box and remember all the good times weíve had in the last three years with Self.

As with any breakup, Iím looking to my friends for support. Weíll probably go grab a few beers tonight and discuss who our new prospects are. Do we like Ernie Kent of Oregon? Tom Crean of Marquette? What about Xavierís Thad Matta? Fortunately in this scenario, I donít have a choice. If I did, I imagine it would be much like ďThe BacheloretteĒ, eliminating coaches until finally one proposes a lifetime marriage because thatís what I want right now. I want a coach dedicated to a lifetime at Illinois. I want a guy that bleeds orange and blue. I want a guy whose dream job TRULY is to coach at the University of Illinois. And I have every faith in Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther to get this done.

Within the next few weeks, weíll be introduced to a new head coach, and weíll welcome him with open arms. And weíll look forward to that first matchup with Kansas. Go Illini!


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E-Mail the Author: Teri Ranks