Big Ten

Illini announce star-studded Hall of Fame class featuring Dick Butkus, Dee Brown, Deron Williams and more


Illini announce star-studded Hall of Fame class featuring Dick Butkus, Dee Brown, Deron Williams and more

Last fall, Illinois announced the formation of its very own athletics hall of fame, announcing at the same time that football legend Dick Butkus would be among the inaugural class of inductees.

Well, the Illini and Bears legend now has company — and plenty of it.

Illinois announced the full 28-member inaugural class for its Hall of Fame, and it is packed with famous names who have worn the orange and blue.

In addition to Butkus, who is arguably the greatest defensive football player of all time, Illini football is represented in the class by Dike Eddleman, Red Grange, George Halas, George Huff, Buddy Young and Robert Zuppke.

Dee Brown and Deron Williams, Illini basketball legends from the beloved 2004-05 team, are also members of the inaugural class, joined by fellow basketball alums Nick Anderson, Jerry Colangelo, Mannie Jackson and Andy Phillip.

Outside of the two most prominent college sports, Illinois' first Hall of Fame class claims 15 more members, including Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Boudreau, Olympic hurdler Tonja Buford-Bailey, women's athletics pioneer Karol Kahrs, Olympic gymnast Nancy Thies Marshall, Olympic sprinter Herb McKenley, Olympic wrestler Allie Morrison, Olympic high jumper and decathlete Harold Osborn and famed golfer Steve Stricker among others with impressive credentials.

"I would like to thank the selection committee for its work in identifying the members of this inaugural Hall of Fame class," Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman said in the announcement. "As you would expect, with more than 120 years of athletics excellence to consider, it was an incredibly difficult process to select this small, elite group. The Class of 2017 includes some of the greatest names in the history of American sports. Equally exciting, however, is that we have hundreds of additional candidates with Hall of Fame credentials. Although not everyone could be included in the first class, all who are deserving will one day be recognized with this special honor. Congratulations to the inaugural class of the University of Illinois Athletics Hall of Fame."

The class will be introduced at a gala at the Field Museum on Friday, June 23. The induction will take place Saturday, Sept. 30, at the State Farm Center in Champaign.

Here's the complete list of inductees:

— Nick Anderson, basketball (1988-89)
— Lou Boudreau, baseball/basketball (1937-38)
— Dee Brown, basketball (2003-06)
— Tonja Buford-Bailey, track and field (1990-93)
— Dick Butkus, football (1962-64)
— Jerry Colangelo, basketball/contributor to sport (1960-62)
— Dwight "Dike" Eddleman, football/track/basketball (1943, 1947-49)
— Perdita Felicien, track and field (2000-03)
— Harry Gill, track coach (1904-29, 1931-33)
— Harold "Red" Grange, football (1923-25)
— Abie Grossfeld, gymnastics (1957-60)
— George Halas, football/basketball/baseball/contributor to sport (1916-18)
— George Huff, football/football coach/baseball coach/athletics director (1901-36)
— Mannie Jackson, basketball/contributor to sport (1958-60)
— Karol Kahrs, coach/athletics administration (1966-2000)
— Nancy Thies Marshall, gymnastics (1976-77)
— Herb McKenley, track and field (1946-47)
— Allie Morrison, wrestling (1927-29)
— Harold Osborn, track and field (1920-22)
— Andy Phillip, basketball/baseball (1942-43, 1947)
— Renee Heiken Slone, golf (1990-93)
— Steve Stricker, golf (1986-89)
— Mary Eggers Tendler, volleyball (1985-88)
— Craig Tiley, tennis coach (1992-2005)
— Craig Virgin, cross country (1973-77)
— Deron Williams, basketball (2003-05)
— Claude "Buddy" Young, football/track and field (1944, 1946)
— Robert Zuppke, football coach (1913-41)

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.