Big Ten

Hawkeyes' Kirk Ferentz gets contract extension through 2025 season


Hawkeyes' Kirk Ferentz gets contract extension through 2025 season

The long-time coach of the Hawkeyes is going to be the head coach of the Hawkeyes for a much longer time.

Iowa announced Tuesday a six-year contract extension for head football coach Kirk Ferentz that will keep him in his position through the 2025 season.

In his 18th season as the Hawkeyes' head coach, Ferentz previously was extended through the 2019 campaign. But in the wake of last season, the winningest one in program history that featured a perfect 12-0 regular season and a trip to the Rose Bowl, Ferentz earned himself another three quarters of a decade at the helm.

“I am pleased and proud to continue as head coach of the University of Iowa football team through (2025). It is a tremendous privilege and responsibility to lead the Iowa football program,” Ferentz said in the announcement. “I am extraordinarily proud of our program, our players and our supportive fans. I appreciate the trust and confidence demonstrated by athletics director Gary Barta and president Bruce Harreld — and I look forward to continuing our winning tradition. Iowa is home to me, my wife, Mary, and our five children. We moved a lot during the early years of coaching, but once we arrived in Iowa City — this quickly became our home. We appreciate and value what it is to be an Iowan and an Iowa Hawkeye.”

Ferentz took over the reins of the program ahead of the 1999 season and won just one game in his first campaign. But in 17 seasons (plus one game this year) he's posted a 128-87 record with two Big Ten titles, five double-digit-win seasons and trips to the Orange Bowl (twice) and the Rose Bowl. He ranks seventh on the all-time Big Ten wins list.

“I’ve said it many times, I would like Kirk to retire as a Hawkeye, and this contract is a strong statement toward that commitment,” Barta said in the announcement. “Kirk’s dedication to the football program and the University of Iowa has brought national attention and recognition to the Hawkeyes for nearly 20 years. Kirk is one of the top coaches in country. His commitment to winning, graduating student-athletes and doing things the right way is unmatched by any program or coach. There is strong momentum surrounding the Hawkeye football program. Whether it’s on the field, recruiting, academics, facilities or with his staff, we’re achieving at a high level today, and are well positioned for continued success for years to come.”

Ferentz will make $4.5 million a year under the new contract, vaulting him into the top eight highest-paid coaches in college football, according to the always-handy USA Today coaches salaries database.

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.