Former Illinois basketball player Dee Brown joined the athletics department staff on a permanent basis, the school announced Tuesday, after he spent the summer serving as a temporary special assistant to athletics director Mike Thomas.
According to the announcement, Brown's duties include representing the department, building relationships, fundraising and assisting in recruiting. Brown had hopes of playing professionally this season, hence the temporary status of his position, but he's decided to stay with the athletics department on a full-time basis.
"I was blessed to play the game of basketball professionally for many years, but felt this was the right time to make the transition to a career off the court," Brown said in the announcement. "I can't think of a better situation than to be able to be around my family more while working for the school I love, the University of Illinois. The opportunity this summer has only strengthened my feelings for Illinois. It's exciting to be back on campus assisting my alma mater."
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"Dee has great passion for the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini athletics," Thomas said. "He did an exceptional job with us this summer, and we are pleased to expand his role to full-time capacity. Dee's enthusiasm and desire to see our student-athletes and teams become the best will be a great driving force as we continue to improve across all areas as a department."
Brown is one of the Illini basketball program's all-time greatest players. He finished a four-year career as the winningest player in program history and ranks third all-time in scoring with 1,812 career points. He started more games and played more minutes than any other player in program history.
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.