Northern Illinois University has a secret. A deep, dark secret.
See, after over 40 years as a member of the NIU family, former Sports Information Director Emeritus Mike Korcek was not renewed by the athletic department.
That's not the secret. The secret is why.
NIU deputy athletics director for external affairs Glen Krupica made the choice to not retain Korcek, telling the DeKalb Daily Chronicle that the position had "run its course."
"Now that three years have past, the Hall of Fame display is up and intact, and Mike had done a tremendous amount for years on that," Krupica said. "Since we have that project done, the department felt the position was not needed anymore."
Now, Glen, enlighten Huskie Nation with the real reason Korcek's tenure is over. Certainly, a part-time position is not costing the university that much money. Korcek's knowledge of NIU is needed for alumni events, the hall of fame, and all that. It simply cannot be "absorbed."
The direction NIU's athletic department has gone over the past few years has not been a good one.
In his tenure at NIU, Korcek spent 22 years as Sports Information Director and over 30 in the department. He attended school at NIU and left only to join the Army, where he received an honorable discharge.
He led the Heisman Trophy campaigns for LeShon Johnson and Michael "The Burner" Turner. Johnson finished sixth in 1993, on a 4-7 team, with no TV games or Internet to promote on. Korcek also led his staff to over 50 CoSIDA awards, including Best in Nation. During the 2003 season the NIU football team went 10-2 with no bowl game appearance. Thanks in large parts to Korcek's efforts, they were a victory away from a Sports Illustrated feature.
He is as close to legendary status as one can get in the industry.
So now Krupica and Athletic Director Jeff Compher have some questions to answer. How can Krupica, a former basketball manager and someone moved up the ranks with Korcek's help, get rid of the walking NIU encyclopedia?
A small FBS school such as NIU cannot afford to lose a person such as Korcek. This is especially the case when current SID Donna Turner was giving media incorrect information on NIU's bowl record in the Independence Bowl press box. For the record, entering the bowl, they were 2-1, not 1-2.
Is this move a clash of political ideologies coming to a head or is it an "out with the old" move by NIU?
Either way, the Huskies made a terrible decision that lit up the message boards and incited alumni all across the country. Korcek was connected to many boosters, many sponsors, and he has a legacy rooted deeply inside the current foundation of NIU athletics.
This move could come back to hurt them.
When I spoke to Korcek on the situation he said he had only hoped to help out his alma mater in this capacity and would have done the work for free if asked in a professional matter.
That was not the case.
That's the new story inside the NIU athletic department. No respect for the past, no respect for tradition. It's all about the money, the fame, and the glory.
All of which NIU will not find as a 6-7 Mid-American Conference team.
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