Big Ten

Longtime Purdue AD Morgan Burke announces July 2017 retirement


Longtime Purdue AD Morgan Burke announces July 2017 retirement

Morgan Burke’s lengthy tenure as the athletics director at Purdue is coming to a close.

Burke announced Thursday that he will retire from his post, effective July 2017.

“Few people are afforded the opportunity to serve their alma mater in a capacity such as I have for more than two decades," Burke said in the announcement, "and I look forward to continue doing so as we help our student-athletes in their quest to win championships — in the classroom, in competition and in life.”

Burke, who took over as Purdue's AD in 1993, is the fourth-longest tenured athletics director in the FBS, spending 22 years running the athletics department in West Lafayette. The only ADs who have served longer at the same institution are Utah’s Chris Hill, Florida’s Jeremy Foley and Wake Forest’s Ron Wellman, with Foley and Wellman starting not even a full year before Burke.

“For longer than any athletic director in Purdue history, Morgan has contributed to Purdue’s reputation as a highly competitive program marked by integrity and fiscal soundness,” university president Mitch Daniels said in the announcement. “Over the last 23 years he has worked to create an environment that fosters both academic and athletic success among our student-athletes. For the first of many times to come, we thank him for his years of service to the university and look forward to working with him over the next year and a half to facilitate a successful transition.”

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Burke hired longtime football coach Joe Tiller, who took the Boilermaker football program to new heights. Tiller led the Boilers to bowl appearances in 10 of his 12 seasons, including a Rose Bowl appearance to cap the 2000 campaign in which Purdue won the Big Ten championship.

Burke's tenure also overlapped with that of legendary basketball coach Gene Keady, who in 25 years won six Big Ten championships and took the Boilers to 17 NCAA tournaments, reaching five Sweet Sixteens and a pair of Elite Eights. Burke hired current head basketball coach Matt Painter. Currently in his 11th season as head coach, Painter has won a pair of Big Ten championships and led the Boilers to two Sweet Sixteens.

Two non-revenue sports have also brought home national championships under Burke's watch: the women's basketball team in 1999 and the women's golf team in 2010.

Purdue announced that chairman of the board of trustees and former football player Michael Berghoff will lead the university's search for a new athletics director.

“Because of the complexity of the job and Morgan’s historic record in Purdue athletics, finding a successor will be no small task,” Berghoff said in the announcement.

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.