It has been a long, fun summer of professional sports. Major League Baseball pennant races have been close, golf and tennis majors have been exciting, football training camps have begun, and many more entertaining developments. Yet for many, there is nothing like the thrill of college athletics.
College programs have been teasing us with stories here and there, but starting this week here in Carbondale, the action will heat up as teams begin practicing for the fall season. Saluki football gets ready for the final season at McAndrew Stadium. It will be fun to see coach Dale Lennon's squad back on the field and looking to defend their conference title.
Don't forget about the Saluki volleyball team. Coach Brenda Winkeler enters her fifth season and the team has increased its win total every year during that time. They still remain in the middle of the pack in the MVC, but there has been plenty of improvement over the years. The atmosphere of Davies Gym makes the team very fun to watch as well.
It is also very good for us media folks in a college town. Yes, there is plenty of love here in southern Illinois for the Miners, St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, but the main focus is on the college sports. With practices starting Monday, there will be plenty of news to feed the hungry Saluki fans.
Oh, and don't forget about the high school sports as well. August is a wonderful time of year, and as the professional sports keep rolling along, the NCAA and IHSA will provide even more entertainment for the southern Illinois fans.