The Chiccy-G Sun Times reported yesterday that University of Wisconsin graduate Tracy Webster has resigned as an assistant men's basketball coach at Illinois, in order to take a similar position under the new Kentucky coach. As a Wisconsin basketball fan, all I can say is "Thank goodness." Tracy captained the run of decency under Stu Jackson in the early to mid 90s, overlapping with Michael Finley and Rashard Griffith, and leaving UW as its all-time assists leader. In addition, he once yelled at me to get the hell out of the Field House because a friend of mine and me were had snuck in and were shooting baskets, and thereby holding up an off-season practice.
He also helped lead the Badgers over a Chris Webber-less Fab Five Michigan team in the best UW game I ever saw at the field house. The Wolverines were coming off back to back title game appearances, and the Badgers were struggling to qualify for the tournament, something they hadn't done for decades. The win put them over the edge. I think Tracy threw a half-court alley oop to Rashard at one point. In fact, the game was so glorious, that I totally blew my chances with this smoky-eyed sophomore girl I had been pining for by forgetting to call her. (Through an intermediary, she had given me "permission" to call her that night, and after I failed to do so, said "permission" was withdrawn. Ah, high school.)
So most Badger fans have awfully fond memories of Tracy. Thus, seeing him mill around the Illinois bench the past few years has been "awkward" to say the least. And at last, like a ride in the elevator with your boss, the awkwardness has been brought to an end. The Sun-Times seems to believe Tracy's move indicates a further sinking of Illinois' chances to recruit top-tier Chicago area high school basketball stars. (The top tier guys have been skipping out on Champaign for places like Kansas, Memphis and North Carolina since Weber's been coach.) Further excellent news. Well done, Tracy.