Notable Names Highlight Radio Analyst Schedule
April 12, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Four former Illinois baseball players and former Illini head coach Richard "Itch" Jones will provide color analysis on radio broadcasts of Illinois home games for the rest of the season, the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics announced. Former Illini All-Americans Darrin Fletcher and Brian McClure, plus former players Loren Tate and Mike Rohde will handle analyst duties alongside veteran play-by-play man Dave Loane. In addition, WHMS radio personality Lee Marcus will join Loane on three broadcasts this season.
After a home-opening weekend that featured former Illinois wrestling head coach Mark Johnson on April 2 and Rohde on April 3-4, McClure will join Loane on the call of Tuesday's game against Eastern Illinois. Jones will call the series opener against Michigan on April 16, while Rohde will step in for the games on April 17-18. Marcus will handle analyst duties for the April 20 game against Illinois State and McClure will call the April 27 game against Bradley alongside Loane.
Tate, a columnist for the News-Gazette and an analyst for football and men's basketball on the Illini Sports Network, will handle duties for the Bleacher Bum Barbecue game against Northwestern April 30, as well as the May 1 game against the Wildcats. Fletcher will join Loane for the May 2 broadcast and Jones will sit in with Loane for the May 4 game against Southern Illinois, where Jones coached from 1970-90.
Marcus will handle analyst duties for the Butler game on May 5, and Illini fans will be treated to multiple special guests, including former players and coaches during the first two games of the Purdue series May 14-15, as those two dates coincide with the Celebration of 130 Years of Illinois Baseball. Jones will call the Sunday game of the Purdue series with Loane, and Marcus will sit in with Loane on May 18, the final home game of the year, against Western Michigan.
Jones is a coaching legend, winning 1,240 games over his 39 years as a college head coach at Illinois, SIU and MacMurray. He led three teams to the College World Series and won 10 conference championships, producing 20 Major League players. He is a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame, among others, and was a seven-time conference Coach of the Year.
Fletcher starred for the Illini from 1985-87 and remains Illinois' career and single-season batting average leader. After leaving Illinois, he played in the Major Leagues for 14 years, mostly with Montreal and Toronto. McClure was a second-team All-American second baseman in 1996, when he hit .418 with 16 home runs and 66 RBIs, and was a two-time All-Big Ten selection.
Rohde played both third and first base during his three years in an Illini uniform from 2005-07 and ranks eighth in career batting average in Big Ten games with a .351 mark. Tate played for Illinois in 1952, head coach Lee Eilbracht's first year, when the Illini shared the Big Ten title.
^- multiple players back for reunion