Big Ten

Hawkeyes' Kirk Ferentz wins Dodd Award as nation's top coach

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Hawkeyes' Kirk Ferentz wins Dodd Award as nation's top coach

Kirk Ferentz is going to need to clear some space on his mantle.

The Iowa head coach earned his fourth national coach of the year award Wednesday when he was named the recipient of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award, which annually recognizes the nation's best coaching job.

“It is an honor to be recognized with the Dodd Trophy, knowing what this award represents in college football on a national level,” Ferentz said in the announcement. “I appreciate the recognition for the hard work of our entire coaching staff and every member of our football program and appreciate the acknowledgment of our accomplishments. I am honored to share this recognition with our staff, our players and our great fans, and I am grateful to the University of Iowa for providing the necessary support for our success.”

Ferentz's Hawkeyes turned in a remarkable season, completing an undefeated regular-season schedule and winning a Big Ten West Division championship before falling to Michigan State in the final minute of the Big Ten Championship Game. Iowa boasts a 12-1 record, already the winningest season in program history. Holding the No. 5 spot in the season's final College Football Playoff rankings, Iowa will meet Stanford in the Rose Bowl on Friday.

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“On behalf of the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Foundation, we congratulate coach Kirk Ferentz,” Jim Terry, chairman of the Dodd Foundation, said in the announcement. “His success on and off the field this season made our decision an easy one. He represents the pinnacle of coaching achievement and loyalty and has built a program that is admired by many throughout the country. His leadership has prepared a community of young men to be leaders in the world, ensuring that coach Dodd’s legacy will continue for generations to come.”

Ferentz has also been named the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, the Woody Hayes Coach of the Year and the American Football Coaches Association Region 3 Coach of the Year. He was also named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Ferentz is the first Big Ten head coach to win the Dodd Award since Michigan's Lloyd Carr in 2007.

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

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USA TODAY

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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USA TODAY

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.