Big Ten

Chris Collins gets multiyear extension at Northwestern


Chris Collins gets multiyear extension at Northwestern

Chris Collins will be staying at Northwestern for the "foreseeable future," as the head basketball coach told the Tribune's Teddy Greenstein that he's received a multiyear contract extension from the school.

The team announced the extension Monday morning on Twitter.

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Collins didn't tell Greenstein how much or how long the extension is worth, nor did the school immediately release that information, but he said his compensation is comparable to that of other Big Ten coaches.

“I was never worried about it," Collins told Greenstein. "I want to be here for the long haul and build a program.”

Collins will enter his third season as the head coach of the Wildcats this fall after going a combined 29-36 in his first two seasons in Evanston.

When he was hired in 2013, reported that Collins' contract was worth $10 million over seven seasons.

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Though the wins haven't exactly come in bunches and Northwestern still remains without an NCAA tournament berth in program history, fans and observers have given Collins positive reviews when it comes to what he's done and what he's doing with the program. In his first season, he put together a strong stretch that saw the Cats win five of seven conference games including three on the road at Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin. This past season, the Cats were the victims of a litany of incredibly close defeats, losing five straight conference games by an average of 3.4 points. Northwestern then won five of six toward the end of the season including two games over tournament-bound teams Iowa and Indiana.

Collins has brought in a highly regarded recruiting class a season ago that includes a pair of potential stars in Bryant McIntosh and Vic Law. McIntosh was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team, and Law showed flashes of brilliance toward season's end. This year's recruiting class is equally impressive, made up of four-star recruit Aaron Falzon and three-star prospects Jordan Ash and Derek Pardon.

That talent, combined with holdovers Tre Demps and Alex Olah, could prime Northwestern for one of its better seasons in recent memory.

The extension is important for Northwestern, too, as Collins' name comes up in conversations in coaching searches around the country not just for his work at Northwestern but also thanks to his long tenure as an assistant at Duke. Keeping Collins in Evanston is a good thing for the Cats.

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.