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SIU Men’s Basketball
SIU Men's Basketball | In tearful goodbye, Hinson steps away from Salukis after 7 seasons

ST. LOUIS — Moments after SIU's men's basketball team lost its chance to win its first Missouri Valley Conference tournament in 13 years Friday night, it lost its coach, too.

Barry Hinson, the dean of Valley coaches and fourth in conference history in league victories, stepped away from the Salukis in a tearful goodbye at the end of his postgame press conference. Third-seeded SIU lost to sixth-seeded Northern Iowa 61-58 in the final quarterfinal of the day at the Enterprise Center to end a 17-15 season. The Salukis finished third in the MVC with a 10-8 record and said goodbye to six seniors.

Hinson let seniors Armon Fletcher and Kavion Pippen, who took questions alongside him during the postgame press conference as is the protocol at the MVC tournament, leave the table before saying goodbye to SIU and the Valley after 16 seasons. Hinson said at the end of last season, when SIU missed the postseason for the 10th straight year after getting beat in overtime by Illinois State, he made a "pact" with former SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno that if he did not make the NIT or the NCAA Tournament this season he would step away.

Montemagno died last October while battling cancer at the age of 62. The athletic director at the time last season ended, Tommy Bell, has since been replaced by Jerry Kill. Hinson did not take questions after his speech at the table. He stepped down and fell into Kill's arms just down the stairs. The two embraced for a few minutes, then left through a side door without taking questions.

Hinson has one year left on his contract, which runs through the 2019-2020 season, after signing an extension in 2016. He makes about $350,000 a year, plus annual university increases and incentives, but his buyout for next season is only $175,000. It is not clear yet if SIU will pay Hinson the remaining amount of his deal or have made an agreement.

Hinson went 116-111 in seven seasons at SIU (60-66 in MVC games) and is 321-251 overall as a head coach at Oral Roberts, Missouri State and in Carbondale. His 285 wins while at Missouri State and SIU rank fourth all-time in league history.

Hinson never reached the NCAA Tournament, although he is also part of two of the biggest snubs by the NCAA selection committee in history. Hinson's 2005-06 club that went 22-9 and finished tied for second in the MVC, was left out of the NCAA Tournament despite an RPI of 21. It was the highest RPI of any team in the history of the tournament to not get in as an at-large or automatic bid. His 22-11 squad the following season achieved an RPI of 36 and was left out.

"If you quote me on one thing, I'd like for you to quote me on this," Hinson said, his voice shaking. "I am so sorry. I am so sorry that we couldn't get back to the tournament. It's haunted me my entire life. And I'm a man of faith, and my dad taught me a long time ago I know not what my future holds, but I know who holds my future."

SIU could return two starters next season, incoming senior guards Aaron Cook and Eric McGill, as well as two other letterwinners. Cook started all 32 games and was the Salukis' fourth-leading scorer at 10.4 points per game. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound combo guard led the team with 118 assists and shot 39.4 percent from the field. Cook made 40 3-pointers, tying senior guard Marcus Bartley for the team lead this season. McGill started 23 of 30 games, led the team in steals with 48, and was SIU's fifth-leading scorer (9.5 points per game) and second-leading rebounder (5.7 per game).

Freshman guard Darius Beane, the son of assistant coach Anthony Beane Sr., played in all 32 games off the bench. Third-year sophomore guard Brendon Gooch played in 16, all off the bench.

Hinson and his staff signed three players for the 2019-2020 season and redshirted four, forwards Sam Shafer, Amadou Fall, Sekou Dembele, and walk-on guard David Swedura. The next coach of the Salukis could have three open scholarships to recruit to if Jimmy Beane, an incoming freshman guard next season that is paying his own way this year in order to qualify for a scholarship, doesn't return. SIU signed guards Lance Jones of Evanston High School, Evan Taylor of Glenbard West High School and forward Chris Payton of Bloomington High School for next season. 

SIH seeks trauma center status for Memorial Hospital of Carbondale

CARBONDALE — Southern Illinois Healthcare and the organization’s community partners have been quietly working to build an oasis in the trauma desert that encompasses the region. SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale is applying for Level II Trauma Center designation from Illinois Department of Public Health.

Dr. Eduardo Smith Singares, trauma medical director at the hospital, explained why trauma center designation is important for patients.

Provided by Southern Illinois Healthcare 

Dr. Eduardo Smith Singares

“In the state of Illinois until 2010, there were two very large areas in which there was no trauma care. We call those trauma deserts,” Smith Singares said. “One of them was the south side of Chicago.”

As a part of the attending physicians at Advocate Christ Medical Center, he saw first-hand what that meant for victims of violence. Transport times are directly related to survival.

He said the University of Chicago filled that void, leaving only one trauma desert in the state, located in Southern Illinois. The closest trauma centers to the region are two in St. Louis and two in Evansville, Indiana. Illinois currently has no trauma center south of Springfield.

“If you get injured here, and what we call your 'golden hour' starts ticking, your best bet is to get transported by helicopter to one of these places. Each one of them is over an hour away,” Smith Singares said.

In emergency medicine, the golden hour is the time period following a traumatic injury during which medical and surgical treatment has the biggest chance of preventing death.

Part of the mission of SIH is to promote the health and well-being of all the people in the communities the organization serves. President and Chief Executive Officer Rex Budde, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Bart Millstead and Al Taylor, vice president and administrator of Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, believe seeking trauma center designation is another step toward fulfilling that mission.

“It’s not about business, it’s about people and being able to take care of people in Southern Illinois,” Budde said.

“A trauma program allows us to keep people here who have multi-system traumatic injuries,” Millstead said.

Data for Memorial Hospital shows that 700 to 800 trauma patients have stopped at Memorial before being transferred to a hospital with trauma designation. Millstead added that means 700 to 800 families who could have had their loved ones close to home during treatment.

Dr. Smith Singares said there is a tremendous impact on patients transferred to other facilities. Part of the impact is financial, adding the cost of a helicopter transport ($50,000 to $60,000) travel and hotels for family members. Then, a patient is transferred to a facility closer to home for rehabilitation with physicians who did not treat them from the time of their accident or injury.

“This is an unmitigated calamity,” Smith Singares said. “We’re all about to change that.”

Trauma Center designation is great for patient care, but it is not easily attained. There are two levels of trauma centers in Illinois. Memorial Hospital of Carbondale will be a Level II trauma center.

To become a Level II designated trauma center, a hospital is required to have certain services available 24 hours a day and others available within 30 minutes. That required certain services to be in place before proceeding, including anesthesia, urology and general surgery.

The groundwork for the trauma program began years ago. The hospital made big inroads in patient care that helped, including becoming a center of excellence in cardiology, a center of excellence in neurology and spine and SIH Cancer Institute. In July 2016, a new wing of the hospital opened with a new surgical suite with additional operating rooms, pre-operative and post-op areas. The administrators see trauma center designation as their next step.

One of the first steps was to hire Dr. Smith Singares in May 2018 as trauma medical director. He is a trained and experienced trauma surgeon. Three other trauma surgeons also joined the hospital staff, Dr. Antonio Lozada, Dr. Kulsoom Laeeq and Dr. Aela Vely.

“We are creating an acute care surgery service, which provides three legs of care,” Smith Singares said.

They are providing 24-hour care in three areas: traditional trauma surgery, emergency general surgery and critical care services for surgical patients in the ICU.

Smith Singares added that patients who have an acute surgical problem in the middle of the night, such as abdominal pain, are better off to come to Memorial where they can immediately see a surgeon and go into surgery quicker. The decision to take a patient to surgery is being made by the person doing the surgery. Some of those emergencies, such as an appendicitis, are easily fixable but potentially lethal if they don't get treated without infection.

“We are here to take care of those patients as well,” Smith Singares said.

Another component was providing air medical transport. Arch Air Medical Service, part of Air Methods, opened its new base at Southern Illinois Airport on Wednesday. Arch 24, a Eurocopter 135, is basically a flying intensive care unit, according to medical director Dr. Phil Moy.

It has heart monitors, IV pumps, a ventilator and other equipment found in a typical ICU. The helicopter is IFR rated and is flown by pilots who have been trained to fly using instrument guidance.

“It is a very capable aircraft. It’s fast and has good lift,” John Taylor, flight nurse, said.

The crew includes four flight nurses, four paramedics and two pilots.

“They are the best trained they can be and the best pre-hospital providers they can be,” Moy said.

The helicopter will give trauma patients extra time during that golden hour for treatment.

Everyone involved in preparing for trauma center status talked about getting patients care during that golden hour and the importance of keeping those patients closer to home. Garrett Burton, director of trauma and EMS, Gene Brandon, trauma program manager, and nurse managers Melanie Sanders and Samantha Melvin, also are really excited about the trauma program.

“We won’t have to transfer patients. They can be here near their loved ones,” Burton said.

Sanders is moving to Memorial Hospital to make sure they are ready for the expected influx of patients and to help prepare staff for those patients.

Brandon is working on the application, which will be submitted April 1. He said it may take six months to get approval from the state.

“I’ll take it before then. We have a lot of work to do in the meantime,” Brandon said.

The team has been working from the “orange book” that contains the specifics of those requirements. Budde said Dr. Mike Davis, an orthopaedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Institute of Southern Illinois, was an extremely important member of the team working on trauma designation. He did at least two-thirds of the required orthopedic component.

Taylor said the process has been a “house-wide” effort, including a lot of work by the surgical and ICU staff, as well as those in the emergency department. In fact, he added that not too many areas of the hospital have been excluded from the process.

“It’s a long, slow slog when pulling this together,” Taylor said.

Although it may take the state six months to approve the application, Memorial Hospital is already providing services and will be providing full trauma services three to four months before then.

Smith Singares said this is all within the philosophy and strategic plan for SIH thanks to Budde’s vision and guidance.

“He saw the need for a community that was starved of resources and it was their need for many services that they have to receive at an urban center that is just too far away … This is exactly what the community needs and responding to the community in an appropriate manner,” Smith Singares said.

breakingtop story
Gov. Pritzker: Future of SIU system should be decided locally

CARBONDALE — Weeks after unveiling his first budget proposal, Gov. J.B. Pritzker outlined several favorable moves for Southern Illinois University Carbondale and other state universities, in an interview with The Southern Illinoisan Editorial Board on Friday morning.

Under his budget plan, state universities would see a 5 percent increase in funding across the board over last year, he said, while funding for an additional 16,000 Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants should encourage eligible Illinois students to stay in the state for college.

Pritzker emphasized fiscal stability, something he said universities sorely lacked during the state budget impasse.

However, when asked whether he favors keeping SIU Carbondale and SIU Edwardsville together under one university system, Pritzker deflected.

Any decisions about the future of the system “should be made locally,” Pritzker said, by its board of trustees. His job, he said, is to make appointments that ensure the board gives equal say to each SIU campus.

“Getting representation from every campus in the SIU system and making sure it’s balanced is the right way to go,” he told The Southern on Friday. “We need stability at SIU.”

If he wishes, Pritzker can replace up to five members of the seven-member governing board of Southern Illinois University.

Three trustees — Joel Sambursky, Shirley Portwood and Randal Thomas — are at the end of their terms. Two more, Marsha Ryan and Tom Britton, were never formally confirmed by the Illinois Senate after former Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed them.

Pritzker has already removed Britton and Ryan, but has not announced their replacements.

Ultimately, sources indicate that Pritzker is planning further replacements and an adjusted balance on the board, with three Carbondale-affiliated trustees, three Edwardsville-affiliated trustees, and one trustee from Springfield, where the SIU School of Medicine has its headquarters.

Until Ryan's and Britton’s recent removals, the board was comprised of four Carbondale-area trustees, with ties to SIUC (Ryan, Britton, Phil Gilbert and Sambursky), and three Edwardsville-area trustees, with ties to SIUE (Amy Sholar, Thomas and Portwood). The Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses also have one student trustee each.

Campus divisions on the board loomed large last May, when the trustees voted on whether to punish then-SIU President Randy Dunn, after internal emails revealed he’d colluded with SIU Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook to advance a proposal that would have shifted $5.1 million from the SIUC to SIUE.

All four SIUC-affiliated trustees voted to place Dunn on administrative leave, while all three SIUE affiliated trustees, joined by then-SIUE Student Trustee Luke Jansen, voted against the move.

Later reporting showed Dunn also helped Pembrook build political support for legislation introduced by State Rep. Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, that would have split the SIU system into separate Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses.

Hoffman, with the backing of several fellow Metro East Democrats, proposed separate boards of trustees for SIUC and SIUE, and sought to transfer the SIU School of Medicine from SIU Carbondale to SIU Edwardsville, a move medical school leaders oppose.

In May, the board voted unanimously against the split legislation (two members, Sholar and Jansen, abstained). An ongoing funding study, commissioned by the board, is examining the distribution of state money between Carbondale and Edwardsville, to make sure each campus receives its fair share.

On Friday, Pritzker blamed the budget impasse and historical drawbacks in state funding for higher education for the enrollment loss plaguing SIUC and other Illinois public universities.

Currently, Illinois loses more students to out-of-state colleges than almost any other state.

“Decisions about the future of this great university should not be made based on a couple of years of a terrible crisis, but based on the stability we’re trying to bring back,” Pritzker said of SIU.

That should be the context, he explained, for any discussion about how best to organize the system.

State Rep. Terri Bryant, R-Murphysboro, who has discussed the board appointments with Pritzker, said she’s confident in his commitment to a balanced board at SIU.

“If he appoints a truly balanced board, they won’t want separation,” Bryant said, as Carbondale-based trustees will never agree to any proposal that strips the university of its affiliations to the SIU law or medical schools.

“If you have a balanced board you’re either moving in a direction of keeping things together, or a direction of stalemate on the issue, and that, too, means the system stays together,” Bryant said.


breakingtop story
Gallatin County Coroner says Harrisburg woman's death caused by hypothermia
Provided by Illinois State Police 

Brooke Naylor is pictured in a photo provided by Illinois State Police.

HARRISBURG — Gallatin County Coroner Tony Cox said Saturday the death of 19-year-old Brooke Naylor was caused by hypothermia due to exposure.

After being missing less than a week, authorities reported Friday that the body of the missing Harrisburg woman had been found in rural Gallatin County. 

Naylor had been reported missing since Sunday and, according to a news release from Illinois State Police, a search was conducted after a car belonging to Naylor was found. 

Naylor’s friends and co-workers knew right away something was very wrong.

“She never did a no-call no-show, and we knew immediately something was wrong,” Kirstin Heberer, a co-worker at Morello's Restaurant and Catering said Saturday.

“We gave it a day hoping she would come home,” she said. But Naylor never did.

“At that point we decided she was gone,” co-worker and close friend Robin Wangler said.

The two had become close while working together, and eventually became friends outside of work, Wangler said. She said she was the one who made the call to report Naylor missing.

“It was devastation. I can’t even put it into words,” Wangler said when they all realized Naylor, the “quirky,” “smart” young woman they had all grown fond of was missing.

“The days that she was gone at work you could feel (it),” she said, adding that even customers commented on it.

Then the call came on Friday that Naylor had been found dead. At about 5:40 p.m., a member of the search team located Naylor's body, south of Pot Hole Lane, in rural Gallatin County. 

Few had words to describe the blow they felt hearing that news.

“I haven’t got the courage to call her mom since I found out,” Wangler said.

Searching for a why in the flurry of pain and in a vacuum of actual details, Aisha Brittain, a manager at Morello’s and a work friend of Naylor’s, could only come up with one thing.

“I just feel like she was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

After Saturday's autopsy, Cox's office declined to comment on other circumstances of the death until toxicology results are released in about four weeks.

Illinois State Police Public Relations Officer Sgt. Joey Watson said that further details were unavailable as the case is still being investigated.