Big Ten

D.J. Durkin adds head-coaching heft to Terps staff


D.J. Durkin adds head-coaching heft to Terps staff

D.J. Durkin might be relatively new to the role of head coach, but there will be plenty of head-coaching experience roaming the sidelines in College Park.

Durkin made some noise Wednesday, when the university announced he'd added former Virginia head coach Mike London and former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer to his staff. London will serve as the associate head coach and defensive line coach, while Schafer will serve as the defensive coordinator.

London spent the past six seasons running the show right down the road in Charlottesville, leading the Hoos to a 27-46 record and one bowl appearance. Prior to arriving at Virginia, London was extremely successful in two seasons as the head coach at FCS Richmond, leading the Spiders to a 24-5 record and a national-championship win in 2008.

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Shafer spent the past seven seasons at Syracuse, including the last three as head coach, leading the Orange to a 14-23 record and one bowl appearance. During the 2008 season, Shafer had the same job Durkin had last season, serving as Michigan's defensive coordinator. Shafer has a couple other Big Ten ties, having worked as the Illinois defensive backs coach in 2004 and having worked under current Illinois head coach and then-Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit as the Broncos' defensive coordinator in 2005 and 2006.

Speculation that Mike Locksley could remain on Durkin's staff intensified Tuesday night when a Maryland recruit tweeted a picture of himself with Durkin and Locksley during an in-home visit. Locksley served as the team's interim head coach following Randy Edsall's midseason dismissal. Locksley was Edsall's offensive coordinator with the Terps and has his own head-coaching experience, serving as the New Mexico head coach from 2009 to 2011. He was also a Maryland assistant from 1997 to 2002 and worked as an Illinois assistant from 2005 to 2008.

There's no telling how Durkin will fare in his first permanent head-coaching gig — he was Florida's interim head coach for last season's bowl game — but surrounding himself with guys who have done the job before can't hurt.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.