Crim: Saying so long to baseball’s all-time greats cannot diminish memories they helped create

The Street and Smith's Baseball Yearbook was a staple for a baseball fan growing up in the 1960s. | Submitted photos

QUINCY — For men of a certain age — I was born 10 days before Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history — the death of Willie Mays means another link to our youth is gone. Baseball was the national pastime for kids growing up in the 1960s. While we knew…

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Crim: Birthdays and baseball fit together perfectly like game of pitch and catch

Don Crim's collection of memories from his days going to St. Louis Cardinals games with his dad, Charlie, includes an honorary one-day contract and the foul ball his dad caught that earned him that contract. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — It somehow seems appropriate that my dad’s birthday in early April coincides with the start of the Major League Baseball season and mine in late September signals its end. Perfect symmetry, like the game itself. My dad, Charlie Crim, turned 91 on Sunday. While he celebrated by sharing homemade dessert and ice cream…

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Crim: Postseason basketball outcomes create intrigue, questions how futures unfold

Illini West boys basketball coach Blaize Kimmel led the Chargers to a 21-11 record in his first season at the helm. | David Adam photo

QUINCY — Questions and observations as the march toward high school state basketball tournaments continues in both Illinois and Missouri, with some college teams harboring postseason aspirations in the waning days of February: First-year Illini West boys coach Blaize Kimmel stood outside his team’s locker room giving fist-bumps and hugs while offering words of encouragement…

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Crim: From NFL streaming to Schreake’s freshman campaign to being bitterly cold outside, Sunday indoors offers plenty to think about

QUINCY — Random thoughts on a bitterly cold day while waiting for friends to post more Facebook pictures of themselves either playing golf or frolicking in a heated pool in Florida: Would the NFL have considered postponing the Dolphins-Chiefs playoff game because of “dangerously cold” weather conditions featuring a “significant risk of frostbite” had it…

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Year in Review 2023: Top 10 most viewed columns

Muddy River Sports Editor Matt Schuckman's take on Jirehl Brock's involvement in the Iowa State gambling probe was the most viewed column in 2023. | Muddy River Sports file photo

QUINCY — Opinions, debate and discussion are part of the sports culture, so here is a look at Muddy River Sports’ 10 most viewed columns in 2023: 1. Schuckman: Brock’s black eye brought on by gambling probe will fade and his true character will show  “Brock likely won’t face any further charges, but he has…

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Crim: Day spent with multiple generations of loved ones trumps anything sports can provide

Charles and Darlene Crim are pictured Sunday with their son, Don, two of their three grandchildren, Nathan Crim and Jessica Dedert, and six of their eight great-grandchildren. | Photo courtesy Don Crim

QUINCY — I had hoped to write a column about the University of Missouri posting a possible program defining victory over LSU to run its record to 6-0 heading into the second half of the college football season. That appeared possible for much of the game Saturday but, as it has been prone to do,…

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Crim: Raiders’ near misses mean playing for pride instead of playoffs over final three games

Quincy Notre Dame football coach Jack Cornell congratulates his players after a scoring drive last Friday night against Columbia (Mo.) Father Tolton at Advance Physical Therapy Field. | Ron Kinscherf photo

QUINCY— The Quincy Notre Dame football team can only think of what might have been. The Raiders were eliminated from playoff consideration Friday night with a 35-28 loss to Columbia (Mo.) Father Tolton at Advance Physical Therapy Field, a game in which they held a 12-point lead five minutes into the second half and seemed…

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Crim: Sports writing pulses through your veins, even after decades have passed

Muddy River Sports Senior Columnist Don Crim covered his first high school football game since 1995 on Friday night when he wrote about Monroe City's victory over Mark Twain. | Muddy River Sports photo

QUINCY — Before Friday night, the last time I went to a high school football game for the purpose of writing about it was Nov. 11, 1995. Quincy Notre Dame was playing at Lewistown that Saturday afternoon in the quarterfinals of the Class 2A playoffs. Abundant sunshine was unable to mask 20 mph winds slicing…

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Crim: Statistical nuggets to satisfy prep football appetites heading into season openers

Hannibal football coach Jeff Gschwender and junior quarterback Waylon Anders are looking to add another North Central Missouri Conference title this season. | Photo courtesy Mathew Kirby

QUINCY — Welcome to a toasty Week 1 of the high school football season, which will feature later kickoff times, extended halftimes and multiple water breaks in efforts to beat the oppressive heat. Word to the wise: Plan accordingly for sitting on metal bleachers. Former Major League Baseball player and manager Lou Pinella once said…

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Crim: Timing of Longo’s return to QHS soccer program is ‘as perfect as it could be’

Matt Longo, left, spent last fall as an assistant coach with the John Wood Community College men's soccer program. | Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — Matt and Amy Longo decided to finally test the snowbird experience by spending January and February in southwestern Florida. They had the opportunity to play bingo, poker, shuffleboard and pickleball and develop friendships with other residents in a 55-and-older community. There were trips to the beach, to spring training baseball games and to…

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Crim: Postseason fate still in question, but Hawks have undoubtedly made strides in Hawkins’ first season back

Steve Hawkins, shown talking with Malik Hardmon during a game against Grand Valley State earlier this season, has guided Quincy University within one victory of their first winning record since the 2016-17 season. | File photo by Matt Schuckman

QUINCY — As the Great Lakes Valley Conference enters the final week of the basketball regular season, the only certainty on the men’s side is that nationally-ranked Indianapolis will finish first and be the top seed for the league tournament March 2-5 in St. Charles, Mo. Otherwise, we’re left to decipher the GLVC’s rating system…

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Crim: QND’s quest to repeat bookends four decades of championship success that began with 1983 title team

The 1983 Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team finished 30-0 while winning the Class A state championship. | Photo courtesy QND Hall of Fame

QUINCY — The Quincy Notre Dame girls basketball team begins its quest this week for a second consecutive Illinois Class 2A state championship and seventh overall in program history. Only Chicago Marshall with eight has captured more titles since the first girls champion was crowned in 1977. Adding to the potential legacy of another first-place…

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Crim: Spending time with Tommy Joe is treasure that lasts forever

Tommy Sneed, right, spent 15 years as the statistician for the Macon (Mo.) High school basketball teams. | Submitted photo

MACON, Mo. — My cellphone rang the day after Christmas. I looked at the screen to see it was Tom Sneed, or Tommy Joe as he was called growing up, a moniker some of us in the family still use. He’s a second cousin on my mother’s side. It had been a while since we…

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2022 Year in Review: Most read columns

Quincy High School offensive lineman Cole Wagy, right, kneels down to console Chatham Glenwood linebacker Brock Rogers following last week's Class 6A first-round playoff game in Chatham, Ill. | Photo courtesy Derek Parris,

QUINCY — Stories of heart and soul, of community pride and compassion, of history and hope are what defined 2022. Here is a look at the most read columns at Muddy River Sports throughout the past year: 1. Schuckman: Empathy and respect create viral video moment between QHS, Glenwood football players 2. Schuckman: Homegrown talent…

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Crim: Georgia on every college football fan’s mind as best team after throttling Tennessee

After throttling Tennessee's high-scoring offense last Saturday, Georgia is clearly the team to beat in the College Football Playoff. | Submitted photo

What did we learn last weekend in college football? Defending champion Georgia is clearly the best team after throttling the high-powered Tennessee offense, Alabama is no longer invincible after losing on the road for the second time, and Illinois is not quite ready for prime time after falling at home to a struggling Michigan State…

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Crim: Former QU men’s basketball coach lands job with D-I program

Former Quincy University men's basketball coach Ryan Hellenthal, right, has joined the staff at SIU-Edwardsville, where he is reunited with Cougars coach Brian Barone. | Matt Schuckman photo

Around the horn … Former Quincy University men’s basketball coach Ryan Hellenthal has landed a new job as director of basketball development and basketball administration at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, the school announced last week. At SIUE, he is reunited with Cougars coach Brian Barone. Both were assistants on the coaching staff at Garden City (Kan.)…

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Crim: College football, Hall of Fame closers, baseball playoffs and QU basketball on the mind

Tennessee's 52-49 victory over Alabama on Saturday rocked the college football world. | Photo courtesy University of Tennessee athletics

Notes, quotes and great thoughts from a sports weekend that, for the first time in a month, did not include my alma mater turning a winnable college football game into an excruciating loss: OK, so Missouri was on a bye. No game, no angst. Surely the Tigers won’t lose on Saturday to Vanderbilt, the only…

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Crim: Known for trustworthy approach to reporting, Hall of Famer and Quincy native Rick Hummel heading toward retirement

St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel, a Quincy native, works on a story in the Busch Stadium III press box that bears his name before a St. Louis Cardinals game this weekend in St. Louis. | Submitted photo

When it became apparent I wasn’t going to make a living pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals, even though I had spent most of my childhood emulating the windup and mannerisms of Bob Gibson, it seemed the next best thing would be writing about the team every day. A baseball beat writer. In St. louis.…

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Crim: Cappel’s three-year stint coaching QHS football created memories he still treasures

Former Quincy High School football coach Dean Cappel, right, and his wife Connie pose for a picture while attending a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. | Submitted photo

SHOREWOOD, Ill. — Dean Cappel and his wife, Connie, live in an active 55-and-older community west of Joliet. When they’re not traveling or doting on their six grandchildren, they like to spend time playing water volleyball and bocce ball and riding bicycles. “I just came back from the weight room,” Cappel said as we began…

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Crim: Love of going to ballpark continues to drive Sloan, major league scout and QU Hall of Famer

Brad Sloan, right, receives his Midwest Scout of the Year plaque during a ceremony in 2018. Sloan, a Quincy University graduate and Hall of Famer, has been scouting for major league franchises for four decades. | Submitted photo

QUINCY — It would have been a trade that changed the course of baseball history. In July 2000, with Eli Marrero on the disabled list and Mike Matheny playing with cracked ribs, St. Louis was in the market for a backup catcher. The Cardinals, who would go on to win 95 games and the Central…

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Crim: Pujols’ surge, Iowa’s meager offense and Williams’ record-setting effort provide stats, numbers to ponder

Hannibal's Aneyas Williams makes a touchdown catch between two Jefferson City defenders during Friday night's game in Jefferson City, Mo. It was one of eight TDs Williams scored, breaking the single-game school record. | Photo courtesy Mathew Kirby

Stats, stats and more stats for your reading pleasure on a leisurely Labor Day. Every Cardinals fan knows 42-year-old Albert Pujols looked like a younger version of himself at the plate in August, fueling a surge that propelled St. Louis to the top of the National League’s Central Division. Just how hot was he? Jayson…

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Crim: Illinois, Mizzou searching for improvement, consistency as college football season dawns

Illinois junior running back Chase Brown and the Illini got the reason started with a 38-6 thumping of Wyoming on Saturday in Champaign, Ill. | Photo courtesy University of Illinois athletics

In case you missed it, Alabama is once again the consensus pick to win the college football national championship, with Ohio State nipping at its heels, and so yawn. Sure, Georgia, Clemson and Utah have the potential to reach the four-team playoff, but the Crimson Tide are expected to avenge last season’s championship game loss…

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Crim: Grandkids and golf continue to keep Weibring active and engaged

D.A. Weibring, one of Quincy's favorite sons, turned 69 in May and continues to be involved with the game of golf. | Photo courtesy Illinois State University

FRISCO, Texas — D.A. Weibring was keeping an eye on the Open Championship, wondering whether rain would cancel an afternoon trip to the driving range with a grandson and anticipating the arrival the following day of four grandkids ages 6 and under for a sleepover. “You want to know what the old guy is up…

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Crim: Growth of QTown Tournaments is ‘win-win across the board’ for youth baseball, softball and Quincy

Fans watch a youth baseball game at Pepsi Field during a tournament organized by QTown Tournaments. | Photo courtesy QTown Tournaments

QUINCY — Youth baseball had a different look when Darin Dodd was a player. “Traveling” for competition then meant driving from the family home in the Hickory Grove subdivision on the eastern edge of Quincy to play Little League games at Maranatha Park on Einhaus Lane, just west of North 12th Street. Fast forward to…

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Crim: Hornets’ season to remember caps school year filled with success from start to finish

The Brown County baseball team became the sixth program in the Muddy River Sports coverage area to win a state trophy during the 2021-22 school year. Matt Schuckman photo

It was nearly the perfect ending to a magical high school sports season. Brown County was the sixth team in the Muddy River Sports area to play for a state championship during the 2021-22 school year when it took the field Saturday against Louisville North Clay in the Illinois Class 1A baseball state finals in…

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Crim: Downtown Quincy’s quiet Memorial Day weekend echoes with memories of Gus Macker

Workers assemble the Sport Court prior to the Gus Macker Tournament in Quincy in 2021. It was the final year for the annual 3-on-3 tournament to be held in Quincy. | Photo courtesy Rodney Hart

QUINCY — It was a sunny, calm morning on the final Saturday in May in downtown Quincy. A row of pickup trucks and tents were stationed in the shade along Hampshire on the north side of Washington Park between Fourth and Fifth streets for the Farmer’s Market. Maine Street was barricaded between Fourth and Fifth…

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Crim: Obert’s feat of aces in back-to-back rounds defies golf’s already long odds

Tom Obert poses with the seven golf balls he has kept from making holes-in-one, the last two of which came in back-to-back rounds at Westview Golf Course. Submitted photo

QUINCY — Tom Obert continues to defy the odds on the golf course. The 66-year-old Quincy man scored holes-in-one in back-to-back rounds May 8 and 10 at Westview Golf Course and narrowly missed a third a day later. They were the sixth and seventh aces he has recorded in the last dozen years, which, in…

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Crim: Mizzou continues swimming around in transfer portal in search for quarterback

University of Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz is still in the search of a transfer quarterback with a June 1 enrollment deadline looming. Photo courtesy Mizzou athletics

Quarterback remains an unsettled position at Missouri. Coach Eli Drinkwitz continues to be in the market for a veteran transfer as he prepares for his third season in Columbia with hopes of improving on his 11-12 overall record there. Various media outlets reported he hosted former Southern Miss and Mississippi State quarterback Jack Abraham for…

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Crim: Basketball Museum of Illinois inches closer to becoming reality with home found in Bedford Park

NORMAL, Ill. — Bruce Firchau was known as a “fixer” during his 38-year basketball coaching career, taking downtrodden programs and turning them into winners. His 557 career victories, mostly at schools in northern Illinois, and 2007 induction into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame are testaments to the success he achieved. His biggest…

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Schuckman: Crim’s induction into IBCA Hall of Fame is fitting honor for inspiring writer, friend

Muddy River Sports senior columnist Don Crim, left, receives his Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame plaque during Saturday night's banquet in Normal, Ill. Photo courtesy Peggy Crim

Intimidating. It seems funny to say it, but that is the most apt description for how I viewed Don Crim the first time I walked into the Quincy Herald-Whig newsroom nearly 33 years ago. The sports editor’s desk, complete with stain rings from his coffee cup and an overflowing ashtray of cigarette butts, served as…

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Crim: Scarcity of officials across prep sports is concern that continues getting worse

Quincy umpire John Frankenhoff calls a strike during a recent game at Quincy Notre Dame. The shortage of officials is taking a toll on all prep sports throughout the region and state. Matt Schuckman photo

QUINCY — During most of his tenure as athletic director at Quincy Notre Dame, Bill Connell followed a familiar routine. Find opponents for the school’s various athletic programs, determine mutual open dates to schedule games and then hire crews to officiate them. That’s not the case anymore. “You have to find officials first and then…

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Crim: Gates changing look of Tigers after taking over as Mizzou men’s basketball coach

Missouri men's basketball coach Dennis Gates has added six transfers to the Tigers' roster since taking the job last month. Photo courtesy Mizzou athletics

Stream of consciousness … The University of Missouri men’s basketball team has largely been a non-factor in the SEC. Cuonzo Martin was fired last month after posting a 78-77 record in five years that featured two NCAA tournament appearances and three losing seasons. That followed the disastrous Kim Anderson experience (27-68 in three seasons). The…

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Crim: With NFL draft looming, Culver-Stockton College’s Rupcich ready to see dream come true

Culver-Stockton College left tackle Andrew Rupcich could have his name called during the NFL draft, which takes place April 28-30 in Las Vegas. Photo courtesy C-SC Athletics

CANTON, Mo. — The list of football players with ties to Culver-Stockton College who have been selected in an NFL draft begins and ends with Bob Hendren. The offensive lineman, who enrolled in C-SC before transferring to the University of Southern California, was chosen by Washington in the seventh round in 1946, when the league…

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Crim: View of Cardinals as MLB season opens contains myriad of questions

Activity returns to Busch Stadium this week as the St. Louis Cardinals open the Major League Baseball season at home Thursday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Photo courtesy St. Louis Cardinals

Welcome to arguably the best week on the sports calendar. It begins with college basketball crowning a men’s champion Monday night. The matchup features two of the sport’s blue bloods in Kansas and North Carolina, although many were hoping Mike Krzyzewski would get a fairy tale ending to his career. (Proud Mizzou graduates will be…

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Crim: Turpin’s mission of helping student-athletes has never changed even as her job and title have

From left to right is former Culver-Stockton College women’s basketball coach Kathy Turpin and her family — future daughter-in-law Katie Shelton, son Andrew, Kathy, husband Rick, daughter Jennifer and son-in-law Joe Holley. Submitted photo

NORTH PORT, Fla. — Once a coach, always a coach. While it has been 28 years since Kathy Turpin walked away from Culver-Stockton College as the winningest women’s basketball coach in school history, never to coach another college game, she is still doing her part to create an atmosphere for student-athletes to succeed. The competitive…

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Crim: If life is about making memories, Pittsfield’s Fischer is truly living the good life

Tim Fischer holds the most valuable player trophy after helping the Pittsfield Saukees to their first championship in the Western-Macomb Holiday Tournament in December 1984. In the background standing in front of the bench are Pittsfield Coach Dave Bennett, assistant coach Len Onken and former Saukee athletic standout Grant Smith. Submitted photo

ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Tim Fischer vividly remembers arriving home after the 1984 Western-Macomb Holiday Tournament. His Pittsfield Saukees had beaten the top two seeds back-to-back that day to win their first championship there and he had been named the tournament’s most valuable player. Pretty heady stuff for a high school senior harboring aspirations of playing…

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Crim: Kreke’s influence on longstanding success of Liberty basketball program remains evident

The 1981 Liberty boys basketball team coached by Paul Kreke, right, established the standard and culture that exists today within the Eagles' program.

LIBERTY, Ill. — The road to Liberty High School’s first appearance in a basketball state tournament championship game began in 1975, when Paul Kreke accepted the only job offer he had after graduating from Quincy College. He became the head coach of a Liberty program that posted winning records only three times the previous 20…

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Crim: Miller’s 30-point fourth quarter remains one of finest performances in state postseason history

Rusty Miller, No. 20 in the front row of the 1983 Central boys basketball team photo, scored 30 points in the fourth quarter of a regional game against Barry. Submitted photo

It has been exactly 39 years and Rusty Miller still can’t explain how he managed to score 30 points in a single quarter of a high school regional tournament basketball game. “I’ve had people come up to me over the years and ask, ‘How in the hell did you do that?’ ” he said. “Wish…

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Crim: Time doesn’t change Siebers’ approach to doing things all out, all the time

The Siebers family includes, in the back row from left to right, Marc, Ryan, Nick, Jacob, and Richard. Ryan’s wife Kim is in the middle. Seated are Mike and Luann Siebers. Submitted photo

EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Mike Siebers brings the same exuberance to a weekend interview with an old sports writer as he did to high school basketball courts and soccer fields four decades ago while playing for Quincy Notre Dame. All out, all the time. “Sorry for taking so much of your time,” he said as the…

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Crim: From Warsaw to West Point to the world, Rothert’s journey is fascinating tale

Steve Rothert with his son, David, and daughter, Catherine, in Cappadocia, Turkey. The area is a popular tourist destination because it has many areas of unique geological, historic and cultural features. Hot-air ballooning is very popular in Cappadocia. Submitted photo

ANKARA, Turkey — Steve Rothert was preparing to play for the Illinois All-Stars in the 1986 McDonald’s/Herald-Whig Classic when we sat down to discuss his all-state basketball career at Warsaw High School and appointment to the United States Military Academy at West Point. The essence of the column I wrote then was that Rothert was…

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Crim: Hawkins remains passionate about coaching and committed to helping steer basketball in right direction

Former Quincy University men's basketball coach Steve Hawkins remains involved in the game, coaching high school basketball in Michigan and running his own consulting business. Submitted photo

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — When Steve Hawkins answered a phone call from a number he didn’t recognize in September, he wasn’t surprised the caller wanted to know if he would be interested in a basketball coaching opening. After all, he had fielded numerous inquiries since Western Michigan University administrators decided not to renew his contract in…

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Crim: Elledge remains man for all seasons and integral part of athletics

Doug Elledge hands the ball to a Lewistown girls basketball player for an inbounds play during the Rumbler on the River at John Wood Community College in December. Matt Schuckman photo

Doug Elledge has the routine down pat. He throws his high school football officiating gear into the car in late August. He pulls it out in November and replaces it with a whistle and striped shirt to referee basketball. Then, in March, he ditches those for a chest protector, face mask and shin guards to…

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Crim: Embracing new adventure back where it all began

Muddy River Sports columnist Don Crim, left, talks with Pittsfield's Paul Petty, center, and Layne Bennett while working on a story in the mid-1980s for the Quincy Herald-Whig.

We’re back to where it all began, in the toy department of life, writing about sports. The late, great New York City sportswriter Jimmy Cannon first coined that phrase many decades ago to describe the sports section in newspapers. Sports was then considered just a game, like a child playing with a toy, meant to…

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Legendary Quincy newspaperman among IBCA Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductees

Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2022 inductee Don Crim

QUINCY — A legendary Quincy newspaperman, a Carthage radio voice and an all-stater from Warsaw are among the inductees in the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame Class of 2022, the association announced Monday. Former Quincy Herald-Whig sports editor and executive editor Don Crim will join Keith Yex in being inducted into the media…

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