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Korcek says goodbye to NIU

Hall of Famer disappointed with athletic department's decision

Mike Korcek was writing an epilogue to a long, memorable story of his time with his alma mater, Northern Illinois University.

He had spent the past three years as NIU's sports information director emeritus after stepping down as sports information director in 2006, putting together the NIU Hall of Fame display that resides in the North lobby of the Convocation Center, and helping to organize reunions and alumni games.

Korcek also wrote an occasional column for the Daily Chronicle called "Korcek's Corner" detailing the history of Huskie athletics for those who forgot and those who never knew.

But, his official affiliation with NIU came to an end on June 30, when his contract was not renewed. It ended a story that started for Korcek as a freshman at NIU in 1966, when he was the cross country beat writer for the student newspaper, the Northern Star.

"I don't think there's an individual that's written more positive things about Northern Illinois," Korcek said. "From that aspect it's very disappointing. I understand it in some ways, though."

NIU deputy athletics director for external affairs Glen Krupica said it was his decision to not retain Korcek.

Krupica has known Korcek for a long time and said the decision was "very difficult" to make. He estimated it took at least six months to come to the conclusion that Korcek's position was, in his estimation, no longer necessary for the department.

"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.

"The position to a great degree has run its course."

Korcek said he doesn't really understand why the athletic department felt that way.

"It's kind of like the family doesn't want me anymore," said Korcek, who volunteered to work on this year's NIU Hall of Fame class and will continue working on it until it's done. "It'll be an adjustment. And it'll be time to move on."

Krupica said he understood Korcek's position, but added, "it's our decision."

Korcek led the Hall of Fame committee and put together the biographies for the hall's members. Krupica was confident the athletic department and committee members could absorb Korcek's duties.

"We have a great cross-section of people with NIU ties and former athletes, a number of whom have become Hall of Fame people themselves," Krupica said.

After receiving a Honorable Discharge from the U.S. Army, Korcek joined former sports information director Bud Nangle's staff at NIU in December 1973. He was inducted into the media wing of the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and the NIU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003.

As for what he'll do next after leaving NIU, Korcek said, "I've got a few projects to work on."

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