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Best of the Bearcats is a collection of the best stories written by former Cincinnati Enquirer writer Bill Koch for the University of Cincinnati’s athletics web site, GoBearcats.com, over the past three-plus years.UC fans can read about the horrific incident that Octavius Ellis witnessed as a child that he overcame to put together a successful college basketball career; how basketball coach Mick Cronin handled the arterial dissection that threatened his life and caused him to miss nearly an entire season; and how athletic director Mike Bohn used computer analytics to settle on Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell to replace Tommy Tuberville as the Bearcats’ head football coach.Koch explains why Tuberville had to be fired after the 2016 season, what it meant for the football program to return to historic Nippert Stadium in 2015 after it underwent a massive renovation, and the process that led to a similar renovation of Fifth Third Arena, which is scheduled to re-open in the fall of 2018.Fans can read the inside story on why Cronin turned down a chance to become the basketball coach at UNLV. They can revisit former UC football stars such as Haruki Nakamura, Brad Jackson, Munchie Legaux and Isaiah Pead, who returned to Nippert Stadium to be honored after a car accident that caused him to lose a leg; and find out why Fickell’s only college wrestling match still motivates him years later. Koch chronicles Sean Kilpatrick’s successful struggle to make it to the NBA, Ian Happ’s emergence as one of the top prospects in Major League Baseball; the emotional return of former Boston Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis, who had his number retired by his alma mater; and the inspiring story of a UC employee who overcame a severe weight problem.Of course, there are plenty of stories about UC’s 2017-18 conference championship men’s basketball team, including an intimate look at star forward Gary Clark’s life off the court; and the devastating end to a season that seemed destined for bigger things.Koch, a Cincinnati native, covered Cincinnati athletics for nearly 30 years as a reporter for the Cincinnati Post and the Enquirer. When he left the Enquirer at the end of 2014, he took his writing and reporting skills to the school he had covered for so long. He wrote about the major sports of football and men’s basketball, but also about the unheralded athletes from other sports that don’t get the same amount of publicity.
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