Diamonds and Ice

Hawkeye coach supports UNI

Got University of Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm to give his feelings on the possibility of Northern Iowa losing its baseball program after this season. The school has said it will drop the sport due to financial concerns if $1.2 million is not raised by next week.

According to just over $250,000 has been pledged thus far. The site also has e-mail addresses of governor Chet Culver for others to complain about the decision.

Coach Dahm has known UNI head coach Rick Heller for quite a while, considering Dahm used to be head coach at Missouri Valley Conference rival Creighton.

“I’m very disappointed,” Dahm said. “Rick Heller is a good friend of mine. We’ve heard the rumors for years that Northern Iowa was going to drop baseball. There are no positives that come out of this – for college baseball or for baseball in the state of Iowa.

“You look at the number of kids we have from the state of Iowa. The opportunities to play Division I baseball in this state have been cut in half. There are a lot of talented kids in this state, so I’m very disappointed.”

Dahm said he had recently talked with Heller about the situation. Iowa and Northern Iowa are scheduled to play each other twice in April, including the Corridor Classic at Cedar Rapids’ Memorial Stadium.

“I know Rick is still working hard. I actually talked to him (last Thursday),” Dahm said. “He’s trying to find a way to get this done. I know he’s made some progress, and I hope they find a way to keep baseball there. Those players deserve it. Rick Heller and the coaching staff deserves it. The alumni deserve it. They’ve played baseball there for so many years.”

Dahm said he was disappointed at the timing of the announcement, coming on the heels of UNI’s first games of the season in early March.

“I wish they’d have given them a little more time to raise the money,” he said. “It has kind of been thrown on (Heller’s) back right now in a not very realistic time frame. Let him know. Don’t make it public, let him know he’s got to go out and do this. Unfortunately, they put him in a very tough spot. They put a lot of pressure on him.

“He’s trying to make this season special for his players, and yet he’s got so many (other) worries, trying to raise $1.2 million. That’s tough. And it’s probably not fair to put him in that spot.”

Dahm complimented Heller as a terrific coach.

“I tell you what, he’s done more with less,” Dahm said. “What he does at Northern Iowa, not being fully funded, the budget is very small, they have to raise a lot of money. Rick Heller is just a tremendous, tremendous baseball coach. And, again, those players do an incredible job over there. I hope they all find a way to keep it.”


A million to go to save UNI baseball
March 16, 2009, 9:14 pm
Filed under: College baseball, Northern Iowa | Tags: , , ,

According to the Website, $237,111.09 has been raised thus far to save the University of Northern Iowa baseball program from extinction.

The school announced last month that baseball would be chopped because of a cut in state funding this year. The only way to save the program for three years, is to raise $1.2 million by April 5. has a list of donors and how much they have donated. Perfect Game USA baseball club in Cedar Rapids has pledged $25,000. Anonymous donors have pledged $65,455.

Maybe the UNI men’s basketball team can use its national platform this week at the NCAA tournament to help raise awareness of what could happen to its baseball brethren. Just a thought.


UNI baseball has a donation Web site
February 27, 2009, 11:15 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

The Northern Iowa baseball team has created a Web site to help raise money to save its program. The school announced earlier this week the baseball program would be cut unless $1.2 million was raised by the end of March.

As of Friday afternoon, the donation total was $45,295, including a single $10,000 donation by someone anonymous. Rumors ran rampant late Friday afternoon that a single donation of $1 million had been given, but that was not confirmed.

Here’s a link to the UNI baseball donation Web site:

Good luck, guys.


UNI best of mediocre lot?

Northern Iowa’s men’s basketball team winning a school-record 11 games in a row is a tremendous story. How many teams ever win 11 games in a row, let alone conference games? The Panthers look to have the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship under wraps.

But you can’t help wondering how much of all this is competition driven? Or lack of competition driven?

In the latest Collegiate Basketball News RPI (Rating Percentage Index), released Monday, Northern Iowa was 73rd, behind such luminaries as Buffalo, Tulsa, Northeastern and Northwestern.  Siena, which UNI (16-6) plays in the upcoming ESPN Bracket Busters, had an RPI of 20.

The Missouri Valley Conference ranked ninth among the 31 leagues, significantly down from its “heyday” of a couple years back. Illinois State actually was the MVC’s top RPI team at 59, and Evansville also ranked ahead of UNI at 70. Creighton was right behind the Panthers at 74.

For further comparison, Iowa came into the week at 89, Drake was 126 and Iowa State 134. Remember that Iowa clubbed UNI this season and Iowa State beat the Panthers as well.

What’s my point with all this? Not really sure.

What Northern Iowa has done this season to this point is terrific, but I think it may need to be put into a little perspective. The Missouri Valley Conference simply isn’t very good. 

Here’s a link to the latest RPI rankings: