Big Ten

Buckeyes make Urban Meyer Big Ten's highest-paid coach


Buckeyes make Urban Meyer Big Ten's highest-paid coach

Urban Meyer has a national championship win and a 38-3 record in three seasons as the Ohio State head football coach.

Monday, the school rewarded that success with a reworked contract that makes Meyer the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten and keeps him on the job through 2020.

"Urban Meyer has done an excellent job strengthening our culture of commitment to academics, career development and winning championships," Ohio State athletics director Gene Smith said in the school's announcement. "Our young men continue to thrive under his leadership, whether on the playing field where they are national champions, through life skills pursuits like Real Life Wednesdays, internships and job fairs, and academically through program-wide efforts to monitor the progress of every student-athlete which has helped the team achieve its highest graduation success rate at 78 percent."

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Meyer's old contract paid him $4.9 million a year and ran through the 2017 season. Now Meyer has three more years tacked on and will average $6.5 million over the next six years.

"I am honored to serve as football coach at The Ohio State University and to represent this great university," Meyer said in the announcement. "It is a privilege to coach and mentor the young men in this program, and I want to thank President (Michael) Drake and Mr. Smith for their support and their trust in me."

Meyer's national championship win in January was his third and the program's eighth. In addition to that remarkable 38-3 overall record, he's won every Big Ten regular-season game he's coached in, with just one defeat coming in the 2013 Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State.

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This past season, Meyer was universally praised for a sensational coaching job in the face of the loss of star running back Carlos Hyde and not one but two season-ending injuries to Heisman-candidate quarterbacks in Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett. But the Buckeyes won the Big Ten title and defeated SEC champion Alabama and Pac-12 champion Oregon en route to the first-ever College Football Playoff championship, with stars emerging in quarterback Cardale Jones and running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The new contract appears to make Meyer the second highest-paid coach in college football, trailing only Alabama's Nick Saban. Meyer was previously the sixth highest-paid head coach and ranked second in the Big Ten only to Michigan State's Mark Dantonio. New Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh could wind up making more in 2015 when you combine his $5 million salary and $2 million signing bonus.

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


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


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.