Kelly: 'I'm committed to Notre Dame'

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Kelly: 'I'm committed to Notre Dame'

Nearly three weeks after rumors began to fly about Brian Kelly meeting with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles, the Notre Dame coach characterized those discussions as a lot less serious than initially thought to be.

Kelly, speaking on a teleconference with reporters Wednesday morning, said the Eagles contacted Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick soon after firing Andy Reid. Swarbrick and Kelly agreed to not address the matter until after Jan. 7's BCS Championship game.

From there, the discussions Kelly had with the Eagles were "more about intrigue on my part" as opposed to actual interest, the coach said.

"I had always been in the college game and really did not have a good grasp of the NFL setup," Kelly said. "And so, for me, my head said let's be more informed, as it relates to the NFL, but my heart is in college football and with Notre Dame."

Kelly added he was flattered and appreciative of the Eagles' interest in him, but relayed what he's been telling recruits for the last three weeks:

"I tell the up front that I'm committed to Notre Dame," Kelly said. " But it's not what I want to do. I want to be a college football coach."

While Kelly has since affirmed his commitment to the college ranks, players were left in the dark regarding his intentions as various reports had Kelly seriously considering the NFL. Blue-chip linebacker Alex Anzalone decommitted from Notre Dame and bolted to Florida following the report, and members of the team were left in limbo for a few days, awaiting Kelly's next move like everyone else.

But despite not knowing anything during the process, Kelly said no players expressed concern to him about his future. Kelly met with his team Sunday night to address the Eagles matter.

"From their perspective, they just wanted to know that I'm going to be their coach, that I'm going to be their coach for some time," Kelly said.

Personnel notes

A few quick hits on various players with various statuses for spring practice and the 2013 season, via Kelly's teleconference:

-- Notre Dame is still working on the appeal process with safety Jamoris Slaughter, who was recently denied a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. Slaughter, who tore his Achilles' tendon Sept. 15 against Michigan State, is still enrolled at Notre Dame and working through injury rehab. Kelly said he hopes to hear an answer from the NCAA by the end of recruiting -- signing day is Feb. 6 -- but isn't optimistic about getting an answer by then.

-- Cornerback Bennett Jackson and linebacker Dan Fox are expected to miss spring practice, as each underwent shoulder surgery a few weeks after the BCS Championship.

-- Cornerback Lo Wood, who ruptured his Achilles' tendon last August in preseason camp, has been getting nothing but positive news regarding his recovery, Kelly said.

-- Safety Austin Collinsworth is expected to get a green light for spring practice after missing the entire 2012 season following June shoulder surgery and back surgery sometime during last season.

-- Center Matt Hegarty, who according to various outlets suffered a stroke in November and underwent heart surgery in December, has adapted well to his medication and may be cleared soon, Kelly said.

-- The outlook isn't as positive regarding reserve tackle Tate Nichols, whose future Kelly described as "uncertain." The junior may wind up on medical hardship.

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

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Photo at top: Loyola Academy assistant coach Paul Pryma extends his hand toward a Steinmetz High School player during pregame introductions on Feb. 21. (Andres Waters/MEDILL)

High School coaches 'leave no stone unturned' in helping players explore next level

By Andres Waters
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

After Loyola Academy held off rival New Trier 43-40 to win the 2017 Zion-Benton regional championship, Ramblers head coach Tom Livatino had a special message for his players.

"That's the best celebration that I have ever been a part of," Livatino said. "Because everybody was completely about love. You guys love each other and we all can tell. I'm really, really proud just to be one of our coaches."

While the speech was a powerful way for Livatino to tell the players of his appreciation, he and other high school coaches engage in something much bigger to show players how proud they are: college recruiting.

In addition to time spent planning and practicing, coaches also sacrifice countless hours each week helping their players find opportunities to play at the next level.

"It's a really long part of the process, but to be honest, it's a part of the job that I absolutely love," Livatino said. "We demand so much of our players in every aspect. And, from a basketball standpoint, the least I could do is everything in my power to help them out."

Less than 48 hours after the Ramblers completed their season with a loss to Evanston Township in the Waukegan Sectional semifinal, Livatino was back in his office holding individual meetings with each player.

Starting with the 10 departing seniors, Livatino discussed the factors that go into choosing a college for high school athletes.

His conversations with the two players who already committed, senior guards Ramar Evans and Matt Lynch, focused on how they felt about their next steps. With the others, Livatino asked whether they wanted to play at the next level and, if so, which schools they wanted to attend that shared an interest in them. The conversations held with the Ramblers' juniors are very similar.

"I wasn't just looking for basketball, I was looking for a fit academically and socially," said Lynch, who committed to Division III St. Norbert College. "[Livatino] said St. Norbert would be the best fit for me. It fit everything I was looking for."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

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Photo at top: La Rue Martin poses for a photo at a National Basketball Retired Players Association event. (Photo courtesy of La Rue Martin)

From dunks to deliveries: Former No. 1 pick LaRue Martin's unlikely success story

By Elan Kane
Special Contributor to CSNChicago.com

LaRue Martin Jr. thought his future was set. The Portland Trail Blazers had drafted him No. 1 overall in the 1972 NBA draft. Money and fame awaited.

Fifteen years later, he started work as a UPS driver, struggling to find uniform pants that fit his 6-foot-11 frame.

"There is life after sports," Martin said. "Period."

It's been 45 years since the draft and Martin, a former Loyola University star, is now the UPS Illinois district public affairs and community services manager. He is labeled by many as one of the biggest busts in NBA draft history, but he is fine with that designation.

"I don't believe in saying anything negative, you have no control over that," Martin said. "I took care of my family, did what I had to do and I'm the type of person I can't dwell off the negatives. I can't. I kept my head up high and moved onto a positive mode of life and it has treated me very well."

Martin averaged 5.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 14 minutes per game in just four seasons with the Trail Blazers. He blames his low numbers on his lack of playing time, but many believe he was just not good enough.

"He didn't get playing time because he [stunk]," said Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan, who has covered the NBA for decades. "[Former No. 1 overall draft pick Michael] Olowokandi didn't do much but I think he did more than that."

Martin is used to the criticism.

"As a young man, reading the papers all the time, that bothered me, I must admit that," Martin said. "But I hold my head up high now because I've been very successful in the corporate world."

Read the full story at Medill Reports Chicago.

CSN Chicago, in partnership with Northwestern University,  features journalism by students in the graduate program at Medill School of Journalism. The students are reporters for Medill News Service. Medill faculty members edit the student work. Click here for more information about Medill.