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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

Streams of unconsciousness from the world of sports:

Saluki roller coaster: You gotta love the ups and downs on a roller coaster.

SIU’s win over UNI Sunday was one of those ups. Granted, this isn’t one of Ben Jacobson’s classic teams, but sweeping UNI doesn’t happen every year. In fact, it rarely happens. It’s not as rare as Halley’s Comet, but the last time SIU swept the Panthers was 2003.

And, as noted earlier, this is the way SIU’s year is likely to play out. The Salukis will pick up some interesting wins and will likely lose some head scratchers.

Stein’s 350th: SIU’s women’s coach Cindy Stein picked up her 350th career victory Friday when the Saluki women defeated Loyola.

Stein, like all coaches, downplayed the accomplishment, stating the wins are a testament to the quality players she’s coached through the years. OK, we’ll concede that point. A coach doesn’t rack up hundreds of wins without outstanding athletes.

On the other hand, good players don’t just land on your doorstep. Good players are recruited and developed. Coaches have something to do with that.

Second, 350 wins is also a testament to longevity and perseverance.

It’s totally understandable that the milestone doesn’t overshadow the immediate future, but hopefully it’s an accomplishment that will take on added meaning in the postseason.


G.O.A.T. – I’ll admit it. I’m a sucker for click bait.

When I see a Greatest Of All Time list of wide receivers, goaltenders, defensive centerfielders, I click all the time. Sometimes I do it to satisfy my curiosity, sometimes I do it simply because I haven’t been angry in a while and I know the list will be infuriating.

The lists are always skewed to players who are still active, or have retired in the last few years.

Here’s a clue – these lists shouldn’t come down to simply raw numbers.

Our games have evolved over time.

Peyton Manning threw as many passes in a month as Bart Starr, Jim Hart or Sonny Jurgenson threw in a season. In terms of career numbers, regular seasons in the Starr-Hart era lasted just 12 games.

And, I think you have to project what the old-timers, meaning players of my era, would have done if they had the benefits of today’s training techniques and medical advances.

Rant over.

Athletic directors rule: Area athletic directors earned their money last week.

The snow that blanketed Southern Illinois last week wreaked havoc with the mid-winter tournaments. Tournaments at West Frankfort, Carbondale, Benton, Massac County and Sparta saw cancellations due to weather.

Despite weeklong schedules being compressed into three days in some instances, area athletic directors kept the tournaments on track. Championship games went off Saturday without a hitch.

Of course, the AD’s couldn’t have accomplished this feat without the cooperation of area coaches and officials.

The short schedules made for a long week.

LES WINKELER is the sports editor for The Southern Illiniosan. Contact him at, or call 618-351-5088 / On Twitter @LesWinkeler.


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