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NIU athletics decline
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uiniu57 Offline
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NIU athletics decline
With each year since Mike Korcek's role as SID emeritus was eliminated, NIU's athletic past becomes more and more of a blur. The current administration, and in particular the media relations operation, doesn't give a hoot about the past in Huskie athletics. Friend of mine is Facebook friends with Korcek and asked me if I saw his recent posts? Once again Mike did his best to give some recognition to an NIU alum with his own post and then also with a link to a story by Carter Crane, another quality veteran from a time when Huskie athletics had media that cared. Here is Crane's story on Huskie letterman Ron Hicks from the Aurora-based publication The Voice.
Rest in Peace Ron
It's a shame the media relations staff neither knows or cares about former Huskies. It's not like they're busy preparing for a game.


Former West Aurora star Ron Hicks' death untimely
Death always arrives too soon for individuals who are bigger than life and sometimes it is stunning. Both were in evidence Tuesday this week with the discovery of the untimely death of former West Aurora High School hall of fame basketball player, Ron Hicks.
He was a member of both the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association (IBCA) and the West Aurora Athletic Hall of Fame. His current interest was as the owner of the Chicago Steam minor league professional men’s and women’s basketball teams. The men play in the American Basketball Association, based in Chicago’s south suburbs.
The late Ron Hicks, West Aurora High School Class of 1976 and owner of the Chicago Steam professional basketball team, holds a basketball with visible autographs of his high school and Northern Illinois University head basketball coach, John McDougal, and Kenny Battle Class of 1984 at West Aurora. Chicago Steam photo
Sunday, Hicks, 62, sent Mother’s Day wishes to his mother, Dolores Hicks, in Aurora, and greetings to others through Facebook. Shortly thereafter he showed symptoms of COVID-19 and went to a hospital. He lived on the far North Side of Chicago near Evanston where he was co-owner of a shoe store. He was sent home from the hospital, with medicine, to self-quarantine. The cause of death 12 hours later, found by a brother, Derrick, was a heart attack and respiratory ailments. Stunning.
Basketball was a big part of his life. He played college basketball at both Northern Illinois University and at Aurora College and he followed with 12 years in professional leagues in Europe. He had been owner of the Chicago Steam’s men’s team for nearly 12 years..
Many Aurora basketball fans will remember the strong and rugged, 6-4 rebounder as a part of the 1976 West Aurora team which finished in second place in the State tournament. Morgan Park of Chicago defeated West Aurora, 46-45, in a wild finish punctuated by a 17-foot jump shot by Laird Smith at the buzzer to overturn the West Aurora one-point lead. That season was the last for head coach John McDougal at the school. For the next 11 seasons he was head coach at Northern Illinois University. Ron Hicks remained close to the late McDougal and his family.
Hicks was the leading rebounder and leading scorer for West Aurora in the 1975-1976 season. He remains in the top three in rebounding in West Aurora school history. He was a three-year letter-winner in basketball.
“He was a strong, aggressive, rebounder, a tower of strength,” recalled Neal Ormond, the radio voice of the West Aurora Blackhawks the last 55 seasons. Hicks was a first-team all-state player on several honor teams.
Rick Albright, lower level coach and radio color man for West Aurora for many seasons, said he interacted on Facebok frequently with Hicks.
“He was a part of a group of guys, brothers Hicks and Bryants, who led West Aurora teams for many years. Most years for a long time there was a Hicks or a Bryant, or, both, on West Aurora teams. They lived close to each other and grew up playing basketball.”
Jay Bryant was a starting guard on the 1976 team and played at Northern Illinois.
Hicks was philosophical in later years on Facebook and urged Aurora youth to be improved as basketball players and as persons.
One of his favorite sayings was, “Do better than your previous self.”
He returned often to Aurora to see family members and to encourage the youth of Aurora. He was a father of two children.
His legacy will remain and his presence will be missed by many in Aurora and other parts of the Chicago area.
05-14-2020 10:19 PM
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NIU75 Online
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RE: NIU athletics decline
I guess institutional history is not one SF strong points unless it is Alabama or Wisconsin. Mike Korcek has forgotten more NIU history than Sean Frazier has ever known.
RIP Ron Hicks
(This post was last modified: 05-14-2020 10:46 PM by NIU75.)
05-14-2020 10:40 PM
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jjj Offline
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Post: #3
RE: NIU athletics decline
Video of Ron Hicks for Aurora West at IHSA state tourney....1976?
Quarterfinal game.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLlxaswAdS8
05-14-2020 10:53 PM
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Post: #4
RE: NIU athletics decline
We have to cut the Athletics Department some slack. Season ticket renewals are due today, and they have been spending time anticipating the arrival of huge mail trucks filled with crates of season ticket renewals/applications and donations. This is a rough time for them processing all the forms and sorting all the money for the Brinks trucks. Plus, I think STF has been out shopping for a new straw hat that he can sport on the Athletics Department videos.
05-15-2020 06:53 AM
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chihuskie Offline
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RE: NIU athletics decline
(05-14-2020 10:40 PM)NIU75 Wrote:  I guess institutional history is not one SF strong points unless it is Alabama or Wisconsin. Mike Korcek has forgotten more NIU history than Sean Frazier has ever known.
RIP Ron Hicks

+1
05-18-2020 03:59 PM
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niu79 Offline
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RE: NIU athletics decline
Ron Hicks was part of the West Aurora connection to NIU basketball that began with his older brother Matt who is a Huskie legend, and accelerated with the hiring of Johnny Mac. Not only did we recruit talent from Aurora, but the rabid high school fans also came out in force to Chick Evans to support the Huskies. RIP Ron Hicks.
(This post was last modified: 05-24-2020 11:03 AM by niu79.)
05-24-2020 11:02 AM
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