Dee Brown already had a gig with the Illinois athletics department. Now he's officially back with the basketball program.
The Illini announced Wednesday that Brown, one of the all-time great players in program history, will work under head basketball coach John Groce as the director of player development and alumni relations. The Proviso East product spent the past year working as a special assistant to the athletics director.
"I am so excited to begin this next chapter in my career," Brown said in the announcement. "I thought my love for this university couldn't exceed what it was when I played here, but my experience over this last year has only strengthened it. I believe in the vision that coach Groce has for our program, and my role will be to help our players become the best they can be, on the basketball court and in all facets of life."
According to the announcement, Brown's duties in the new position will include "scheduling and coordinating all student-athlete life skills enhancement opportunities and community service participation, providing off-the-court guidance to players during their collegiate careers and beyond, coordinating video materials, contributing to on-campus recruiting-related activities and directing correspondence with high school coaches, and representing the program at various public and alumni events."
Brown played in 114 wins during his four-year career at Illinois, more than any other player in program history. His 1,812 career points place him third on the Illinois all-time scoring list, and he ranks second all-time in 3-pointers and steals, as well as third in assists. Most notably, he was one of the key cogs on the 2004-05 team that won 37 games and reached the national championship game, a campaign after which he was named a consensus first-team All American.
"Dee Brown's passion for the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini athletics is unmatched," Groce said in the announcement. "He stands as one of the greatest to ever play here, but anyone who knows Dee knows that he does not rest upon past accomplishments. He is committed to paying it forward as a mentor to our current student-athletes. He has a tremendous future in the coaching profession, and we are thrilled to welcome him to our staff as we work collectively in building a championship program."
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 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.