5 Questions with...ABC 7's Mark Giangreco

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5 Questions with...ABC 7's Mark Giangreco

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guestwithout question, one of the most popular sports anchors in Chicago television history whose wit, wisdom and love of the Chicago sports scene is simply unrivaledhes been a fixture on the local news airwaves for close to 30 years and, for the last 16 years, hes been the sports director and chief sports anchorreporter for the top-rated ABC 7 Newslike a fine wine, this guy just keeps getting better and better each yearhere are 5 Questions withMARK GIANGRECO!

BIO: Mark Giangreco is the ABC 7 Chicago sports director and primary sports anchorreporter for the No. 1 rated 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. Giangreco has earned a reputation for being a sports anchor that even non-sports fans enjoy watching, delivering sports with humor, wit and an interesting spin on the day's sports news. He joined ABC 7 Chicago in 1994.

Giangreco came to ABC 7 from Chicago's WMAQ-TV, where he was the station's sports director as well as sports anchorreporter (1983-94) and the weekend anchorreporter (1982-83).

Previously, Giangreco worked at WLKY-TV in Louisville, Ky., where he was sports anchor and sports director (1978-82). Before this, he served as weekend sports anchor and reporter at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio (1976-77).

Giangreco's broadcasting career began during his college years, when he joined WING-AM radio in Dayton as a news and sports reporter in 1972.

Giangreco has been honored with the prestigious Iris Award from the National Association of Television Program Executives, three Emmys, two Peter Lisagor Awards and two Associated Press Awards for "Best Sportscast." In 1996, the Chicago Father's Day Council named him "Father of the Year," and in 1995, he won the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans and the Justinian Society of Italian Lawyers Award for journalism. Giangreco was also honored in 1982 with the Louisville Journalism Award for his excellence in sports reporting.

Giangreco's hobbies include hockey, classic cars and drawing.

Giangreco earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton in 1974. He lives in Chicago and has three sons.

1) CSNChicago.com: Mark, your career in Chicago has been beyond impressive highlighted by industry awards, continuously solid ratings and admiration from millions of viewers throughout the city. Why do you think your unconventional style has resonated so well with Chicago viewers over the years?

Giangreco: I dont know how unconventional it is, but its just me. I think the most important thing about doing television is to be yourself. Im a jaded, cynical, wise guy by nature and dont really take anything too seriously. I realize how deeply sports are woven into our culture but, at the end of the day, its just entertainment. I enjoy making fun of players, coaches, fans and myself. Its really ridiculous what I do for a living. I think people in Chicago get that. This is a classic, blue collar, ethnic, no nonsense town where phony grandstanders last about one ratings period.

2) CSNChicago.com: This may be tough to answer, but in your opinion, what would you say was the pinnacle championship moment (Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup, Bulls first championship in 91, White Sox WS title in 05, Bears Super Bowl XX win, etc.) in Chicago sports history that truly brought everyone in this city together?

Giangreco: I think the pinnacle championship moment that truly galvanized this city was Super Bowl XX. Da Coooooaaaach and his amazing cast of characters will never be duplicated. Id say the first Bulls title would be a distant second. I really enjoyed the Sox World Series, run but being a hockey nut, I have to say the Hawks 2010 Stanley Cup Quest was my personal, all-time favorite.

3) CSNChicago.com: As someone who has mentored hundreds who have appeared on-camera and behind-the-scenes over the years, who would you say were some of your mentors in the early part of your Chicago television career?

Giangreco: I dont know if Id call Chet Coppock a Mentor (maybe more like a Vegas Casino Greeter ha, just kidding Big Guy), but he certainly taught me that its not a broadcastits a showits not PBSits a Circusand youre the Ring Master. I took most of my cues from national sportscasters like Bob Costas and Al Michaels. They are machines. Then mixed in a few prominent comedians and writers and tried to steal as much as I could.

4) CSNChicago.com: Tell us about the single best concert youve ever attended in your life.
Giangreco: Best concert ever? No question: Santana and The Neville Brothers at Poplar Creek. Carlos actually broke up a brawl in the front row with his foot while still playing his guitarnever missed a noteand even handed the combatants some flowers after he finished the song. Then Aaron Neville and his band joined Santana for the most powerful encore Ive ever witnessed .

5) CSNChicago.com: Finish this sentence: If I werent a sportscaster, I would have loved to have had a career as a _______.

Giangreco: IF I werent a Sportscaster, Id love to have a career as a: guitar playing-hockey player of course!and drive a different, classic, muscle car to each of my gamesconcerts.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to promote Mark? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.
Giangreco: Hmmmmwell, Im still appearing nightly at 5pm & 10pm on the Big Blow Torch, ABC 7, and Tuesdays from Noon to 1pm on ESPN Radio with Waddle & Silvy. Im also the Honorary Chairman of the great Ronald McDonald House Charity effort here in Chicago.

Giangreco LINKS:

ABC 7 Sports official web page

Mark Giangreco on Facebook

Illinois chancellor announces process to pick new Illini mascot

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Illinois chancellor announces process to pick new Illini mascot

If you were bothered by the lack of a costumed character roaming the sidelines at Illinois football and basketball games, your troubles are over.

University of Illinois chancellor Barbara J. Wilson announced during a campus meeting Monday that the school is beginning the process of choosing a new mascot, according to a report from the Champaign News-Gazette's Julie Wurth.

Mind you, this isn't signalling the return of Chief Illiniwek, who wasn't a masoct anyway, the university classifying the Chief as a symbol. No, this is something new, and the result would figure to be more in the vein of the cartoonish figures celebrating touchdowns and crowd surfing at football and basketball games.

From Wurth's report:

Wilson endorsed the recommendation from an Illinois Student Senate ad hoc committee that recently urged the campus to move forward with a mascot. She met with the group on Friday.

She plans to form a committee of 10 to 12 people that will draw up a process and a timeline. It will include representatives from all the stakeholders involved — students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members.

Wilson, who had already signaled her support for the student effort, said last week that any new mascot would embody the values and traditions of the campus.

Chief Illiniwek was retired in 2007 amid concerns that the costumed performer was offensive to Native Americans. The Illinois marching band still plays the music the Chief used to perform to, and people wearing the costume have appeared in the stands during games while the music played. All that, of course, is unofficial, and while many Illini alumi and fans continue to hope the university will bring back Chief Illiniwek, they will have to settle for whatever this new mascot ends up being.

Certainly, Wilson seems aware that this is a sensitive subject for many.

Illinois is currently one of just three Big Ten schools without a costumed mascot, Indiana and Michigan being the others. Iowa boasts Herky Hawkeye, Maryland has Testudo, Michigan State has Sparty, Minnesota has Goldy Gopher, Nebraska has Herbie Husker (and Li'l Red), Northwestern has Willie Wildcat, Ohio State has Brutus Buckeye, Penn State has the Nittany Lion, Purdue has Purdue Pete, Rutgers has the Scarlet Knight and Wisconsin has Bucky Badger.

Three former Illini sign with NFL teams following NFL Draft

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Three former Illini sign with NFL teams following NFL Draft

Illinois saw three players selected in this past weekend's NFL Draft, and after the festivities were over, three more signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents.

Running back Josh Ferguson signed with the Indianapolis Colts, wide receiver Geronimo Allison signed with the Green Bay Packers, and cornerback/return man V'Angelo Bentley signed with the New England Patriots.

Ferguson, a Naperville native and a Joliet Catholic product, had a strong career in Champaign. He was hampered by injuries last season, playing in just nine games, and finished second on the team with 708 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He also caught 37 passes for 280 receiving yards and a pair of receiving touchdowns.

Ferguson ranks second in program history in all-purpose yardage with 4,474 yards, sixth in rushing with 2,586 yards and third in receptions with 168 catches. He owns the program records for receiving yards by a running back (1,507) and receptions by a running back (168).

Allison joined the Illini two offseasons ago, transferring in from junior college. He started 12 of the team's 13 games during the 2014 season, ranking second on the team with 598 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Last season, Allison played in all 12 games, catching a team-high 56 passes for a team-high 882 yards and three touchdowns.

Bentley carved out his own corner of the program record book, becoming the only Illinois player ever to score touchdowns via a kick return, punt return, interception return and fumble return. He's the program leader in kick-return yardage with 1,860 yards, and he ranks fourth all-time in punt-return yardage with 550 yards. Last season, Bentley ranked fifth on the Illini defense with 54 tackles.

These three join the trio of Illini who were drafted over the weekend. Defensive end Jihad Ward became the first Illinois product drafted since 2013 when he was selected by the Oakland Raiders with the No. 44 pick in the second round. Offensive lineman Ted Karras was picked at No. 221 by the Patriots, and safety Clayton Fejedelem was drafted at No. 245 by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Timberwolves' Tom Thibodeau appreciative of time with Bulls

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Timberwolves' Tom Thibodeau appreciative of time with Bulls

There's likely a lot Tom Thibodeau would love to get off his chest.

But the newest head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves continued to take the high road on his tumultous ending with the Bulls when he spoke to David Kaplan Monday morning on ESPN 1000.

Thibodeau, who was hired by the Timberwolves in April as head coach and president of basketball operations, said he was appreciative of his five seasons with the Bulls.

"I felt I had a great job here and I had great guys to coach," he told Kaplan. "That part, you're disappointed that it's going to end, but you know if you're in pro sports. These things happen. I was disappointed that we weren't able to win the championship, not only for our players, but for the fans here and for Jerry (Reinsdorf). Jerry took a chance on me and I'll always appreciate that he did that. I enjoyed my time here.

"Obviously I loved living here and appreciate all the support we received for our team over the five years I was here," he added. "I know what the Bulls mean to this city and I know how the organization feels about the support that they receive from the fans. This is a great, great sports city and I certainly appreciate all they did for me as well."

Thibodeau's departure coincided with Fred Hoiberg's arrival at the helm. The Bulls struggled in their first year post-Thibodeau, missing the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Thibodeau alluded to myriad injuries the team faced, including the season-ending shoulder injury to emotional leader Joakim Noah.

"Jo (Noah) is a big hit. You can't underestimate that, but along with Jo going down I felt that the East had gotten a lot better," Thibodeau said. "When you combine those things, and sometimes that happens. They're still a really good team. I think Fred is an excellent coach. They have to be healthy. That's a big thing for the organization, and unfortunately that hasn't been the case for the last few years."

The Bulls and Timberwolves will play twice next season.