Big Ten

Brock Spack on potentially returning to Purdue as head coach: 'I don't see it happening'

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Brock Spack on potentially returning to Purdue as head coach: 'I don't see it happening'

Brock Spack seems like one of the logical candidates — perhaps the most logical candidate — for the Purdue head-coaching job just vacated by the firing of Darrell Hazell.

But the current Illinois State coach doesn't envision him moving back to the program where he played and where he was an assistant for a combined decade and a half.

"I don't see it happening," Spack said earlier this week, his quotes published by the Pantagraph. "I've kind of moved on from that a long time ago."

Spack was a Purdue linebacker in the early 1980s. He was Purdue's defensive backs coach from 1991 to 1994 under Jim Colletto, and he was the Boilermakers' defensive coordinator under Joe Tiller from 1997 to 2008.

Purdue had a couple chances to make Spack the head coach, opting for Danny Hope after Tiller's tenure ended and then picking Hazell ahead of the 2013 season. Hope's teams posted one winning record in four seasons, and Hazell was fired last weekend after amassing just nine wins in three and a half seasons.

Spack has been the head coach at Illinois State since the 2009 season, posting a 59-33 record and leading the Redbirds to three FCS playoff appearances, including a trip to the national title game in 2014.

"I'm not anticipating any," Spack said, on if there'd been any contact from his alma mater. "I just don't see Purdue going after an FCS head coach right now. It's difficult for me. It's the same record that keeps playing over and over again. I don't think it's healthy for me to go through all that stuff, so I don’t really think about it."

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.