Big Ten

Colorado athletics director Rick George has no interest in Illini AD job

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Colorado athletics director Rick George has no interest in Illini AD job

Cross one name off your Illinois athletics director wish list.

Rick George, the athletics director at Colorado, put to rest rumors that linked him to the vacant job in Champaign.

George played football at, graduated from and worked at Illinois, and many lists of potential candidates had him at the top.

“There has been a lot of speculation out there that I will be considered for the athletic director position at the University of Illinois,” George said in a story published on Colorado's official athletics website. “While it is flattering that my name has been connected to the Illinois job, I believe it is due to Illinois being my alma mater and others pushing my name publicly.

“Should Illinois contact me, again that would be both humbling and flattering, but I would gracefully decline because Colorado and Boulder is my home for the foreseeable future.”

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Fighting Illini gear right here]

George is a native of Woodstock and played football at Illinois for four years, joining the athletics department after graduating and working there until 1987, when he left for a job at Colorado. He worked for the Texas Rangers and PGA Tour, among other organizations, before becoming Colorado's athletics director in 2013.

His history at Illinois and the job he's doing at Colorado made him a natural speculative candidate and likely the best choice of all those mentioned by observers.

But George affirmed Thursday that he's not going anywhere.

“My family and I are very happy here at Colorado and we have no intention of leaving,” George said. “I am proud of what we have accomplished in a short period of time, but we have much more to get done. I am excited about the future, and I am looking forward to taking on the challenges that we face in athletics with our student-athletes, staff and coaches. I can honestly tell you that I plan on being at Colorado as the athletic director."

Illinois removed Mike Thomas from the position of athletics director a couple weeks ago. Paul Kowalczyk is currently serving as interim athletics director. Filling the position is important, as Illinois might also be looking for a new football coach should interim head football coach Bill Cubit not be elevated to permanent status at season's end.

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.