Fighting Illini basketball will be looking for a new radio analyst this offseason. Former Illinois forward Jerry Hester has informed The News-Gazette of plans to step away from his broadcasting career. Hester has been providing color commentary on the team alongside play-by-play man Brian Barnhart since 2005.
Search on for #Illini radio analyst, by @srrichey. Hester: 'It was a tough decision.' https://t.co/U2KImbgYfn— IlliniHQ (@IlliniHQ) June 25, 2016
I can't say I had the opportunity to take in too many of Hester's calls, but it was still abundantly clear that he was a great choice for the role. Hester was able to consistently provide unique insight into the program, and he was never afraid to convey his opinions to the audience.
Hester cited the huge time commitment as the primary factor in his decision. However, he did state that he'd be open to calling occasional games if his replacement isn't available for the full season.
"It was a tough decision. From the business side, traveling and conducting an insurance business was difficult when you have such a time commitment through the basketball season. From a family decision, it was really weighing on me. I was spending so much time away from the kids and the wife."
~ Jerry Hester
Kent Brown, Illinois' sports information director, has indicated that the athletic department will attempt to find another former player to replace Hester. That's probably the right move for multiple reasons, but again, that past playing experience can prove invaluable when commentating on the team.
So who would you like to see replace Jerry Hester? Let us know down in the comments.
Illinois Fighting Illini Links | June 26, 2016
- Joseph Bertrand arrested for domestic battery (The News-Gazette)
Former Illinois basketball player Joseph Bertrand was released from jail late Saturday morning after being arrested earlier for domestic battery. Bertrand, who has no criminal convictions, is scheduled to be back in court Monday. The state's attorney's office will decide then if he should be charged with a crime.
- A look back at the 2001 Illinois Football team (The News-Gazette)
The 2001 Illinois football team achieved a Big Ten title no one saw coming — except maybe the Illini players and coaching staff. This weekend around Champaign-Urbana, more than 40 former players, coaches and staff members are expected to attend a 15-year reunion of that magical season.
- Lovie Smith awakens ties between Chicago Bears, Fighting Illini (Fox Sports)
The hiring of Lovie Smith represents a major shift in the attitude of the university towards its football program. Illinois can compete. They are willing to spend top dollar to bring in a top coach of Lovie Smith's experience and NFL pedigree.
- Analyzing the 2016 Illinois Football schedule (TCR)
Lovie Smith's first season in Champaign features the nations' 35th-toughest schedule. Do the Orange and Blue have what it takes to reach a bowl game? Here's what we should expect from all 12 games this Fall.
- Tales of the Tape: Micah Awordiran Scouting Report (TCR)
It's only a matter of time until a defense run by Lovie Smith and Hardy Nickerson features top linebackers, and Micah Awodiran may be the first step towards improving the unit. Here's our scouting report of the three-star Illinois native.