Big Ten

Gophers won't renew contracts of offensive coordinator, QBs coach


Gophers won't renew contracts of offensive coordinator, QBs coach

With Jerry Kill no longer running things in Minnesota, a coaching staff that prided itself on how long it had been together is being broken apart.

Gophers head coach Tracy Claeys on Sunday announced that offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Matt Limegrover, who had served as a Kill assistant since 1999, and quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski, who worked under Kill for six seasons, would not have their contracts renewed.

“Matt and Jim are both terrific people and coaches, but I have decided to make a change that will better fit my offensive philosophy, which is to have one coordinator calling the plays,” Claeys said in the announcement. “They have been great representatives for the university and always put our student-athletes first, and I thank them for their contributions to our program and wish them well in the future.”

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Claeys and Limegrover had worked together as Kill's assistants since the late 90s. Claeys was named interim head coach earlier this season after Kill abruptly retired due to health reasons. Claeys was named the permanent head coach not long after.

Despite showing some improvement late in the season, the Gophers' offense was extremely ineffective for much of the campaign. Minnesota finished second to last in the conference in scoring offense, averaging 22.6 points per game.

The Gophers started the season 3-2 but averaged just 15.4 points a game, scoring just 10 in a win over Kent State and getting shutout in the conference opener against Northwestern. Minnesota averaged 27.7 points over the final seven games, scoring 26 against Michigan and 35 against Iowa, but the team went just 2-5 during that stretch, which included a four-game losing streak.

With a couple notable exceptions such as running back David Cobb and tight end Maxx Williams, the Minnesota offense hasn't been terribly effective over the past few seasons.

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.