Big Ten

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill returns to Big Ten as Rutgers offensive coordinator

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USA TODAY

Former Gophers coach Jerry Kill returns to Big Ten as Rutgers offensive coordinator

Jerry Kill’s retirement from coaching sure didn’t last long.

The former Minnesota head coach was announced as the new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rutgers, making his return to coaching and his return to the Big Ten after just one season as an associate athletics director at Kansas State.

Kill retired midway through the 2015 season in order to better manage his epilepsy after numerous seizures prevented him from coaching on gamedays. He yielded his head-coaching position at Minnesota to longtime defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys, who is wrapping up his first full season at the helm of the Gophers’ program.

Rutgers is in need of a new offensive coordinator after Drew Mehringer left for an assistant-coaching job at Texas. The Scarlet Knights’ offense was atrocious this season, Chris Ash’s first as head coach. Rutgers was dead last in the country in total offense, averaging just 283.2 yards a game, and second to last in the country in scoring offense, averaging a mere 15.7 points a game.

While the Knights had a brutal schedule, playing four teams that ended up ranked in the top six in the final College Football Playoff rankings — No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 Washington, No. 5 Penn State and No. 6 Michigan — scoring was a season-long problem. Rutgers was shut out four times, scored seven points or fewer in six of its games and scored 13 points or fewer in eight.

Kill hasn’t had an assistant-coaching job since the early 1990s, though he certainly brings a wealth of coaching experience. He was a head coach at five different programs over a 22-year period, pulling turnaround jobs everywhere he went. At Minnesota, he flipped the Gophers into a Big Ten West Division contender, going from three wins in his first season to eight wins in each of his last two full seasons in charge of the program.

"I am excited to welcome Jerry and his family to Rutgers," Ash said in the announcement. "Jerry brings years of experience and tremendous leadership to our offense. He is a veteran Big Ten coach and a proven winner. Our players and coaches will benefit from his wealth of knowledge."

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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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

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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.