Big Ten

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill named associate AD at Kansas State


Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill named associate AD at Kansas State

Jerry Kill's next job after abruptly retiring as the Minnesota head football coach in the middle of last season won't be with the Gophers.

Kansas State announced Tuesday morning that Kill — a native of Cheney, Kan. — will be the Wildcats' new associate athletics director for administration.

"Rebecca and I couldn’t be happier to return home to the state of Kansas and join the K-State athletics family and Manhattan community," Kill said in the school's announcement. "I want to make it known that my coaching days are over, and I am excited to start this next phase as an administrator for one of the finest athletics departments in the country. Mentoring has always been very important to me, and I am thrilled to work in support of Hall of Fame coach Bill Snyder and the football program and learn more about the administrative side of college athletics under (athletics director) John (Currie) and the rest of the first-class staff at K-State."

As Kill mentioned in his statement there, he won't be returning to the field as a coach despite leading an impressive turnaround at Minnesota. Kill tearfully retired in the middle of last season, citing his ongoing battle with epilepsy as the reason he had to step down from his coaching duties with the Gophers. Surely, though, the speculation that he would perhaps be a "coach in waiting" is understandable, given that Snyder will turn 77 during the upcoming season and has worked Kansas State's head football coach for 25 of the last 28 seasons.

After engineering turnarounds at smaller programs at Southern Illinois and Northern Illinois, Kill came to Minnesota ahead of the 2011 season. In that first season, the Gophers won just three games, but they won six the next and eight in both 2013 and 2014, two of just 19 campaigns with at least eight victories in program history. Last season, Kill coached the first seven games before retiring, winning four. He handed the program over to longtime defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who went 2-4 in his six games, including a win in the Quick Lane Bowl, Minnesota's first bowl win since 2004.

Kill finished his tenure at Minnesota with a 29-29 record.

There was curiosity as to whether Kill would take a job within the Minnesota athletics department, but that obviously never came to fruition. Minnesota named a new athletics director last week in Mark Coyle.

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.