Big Ten

Ex-Michigan AD Dave Brandon named new Toys"R"Us CEO


Ex-Michigan AD Dave Brandon named new Toys"R"Us CEO

Former Michigan athletics director Dave Brandon has a sweet new gig.

Brandon, who resigned from his post in Ann Arbor in the middle of last football season, is set to become the new CEO of Toys"R"Us, the company announced Tuesday. Brandon will take over following the retirement of current CEO Antonio Urcelay on July 1.

Don't expect toy sales to skyrocket in Michigan, where Brandon was essentially run out of town for all sorts of things, chief among them the complete mishandling of the aftermath of Shane Morris' concussion in the Wolverines' loss to Minnesota. But Brandon made plenty of other missteps last season and before, including botching a promotion with Coke that resulted in promising fans free tickets for purchasing two bottles of pop, offending fans with insult-packed e-mails and seeing attendance at the Big House decrease thanks to the Wolverines' poor play on the field.

[MORE BIG TEN: Watch Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger lead Ohio Stadium crowd in 'O-H-I-O']

Fans obviously had enough of Brandon, starting a petition for his firing and even protesting against the AD on the university president's front lawn.

Brandon officially resigned on Halloween, and head football coach Brady Hoke was fired a little more than a month later once the season came to an end.

Jim Hackett took over for Brandon and hired Jim Harbaugh as head coach, a hiring which before a game has been played has received universal applause.

[MORE BIG TEN: Buckeyes' Urban Meyer on Braxton Miller: 'He's playing for Ohio State']

But cry not for Brandon, who now really has the job we all wanted as kids: running a toy store.

"I consider it a tremendous privilege to assume this important leadership role at Toys"R"Us, one of the most well-known retail brands in the world," Brandon said in the company's announcement. "And, I feel fortunate to be succeeding such an experienced and accomplished leader as Antonio. I believe our best days are ahead of us, and I’m eager to get started. Meeting our employees and vendors is something I very much look forward to, as we begin to work together to drive future growth and create memorable shopping experiences for our customers."

Let's just hope the Minnesota defense doesn't come after Geoffrey Giraffe.

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.