Big Ten

Penn State adds former NFL coach Jim Haslett as football consultant

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Penn State adds former NFL coach Jim Haslett as football consultant

Former NFL head coach Jim Haslett will serve as a consultant to the Penn State football program, the team announced Wednesday.

Haslett served as head coach of the New Orleans Saints for six seasons, from 2000 to 2005, and as interim head coach of the St. Louis Rams for 12 games during the 2008 season. He spent the past five seasons as the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins.

Penn State's announcement said that Haslett, a Pittsburgh native, will work with the Nittany Lions' coaches, staff and program.

[MORE BIG TEN: Terrelle Pryor OK'd to scrimmage with Browns at Ohio Stadium]

"We are very excited to have Jim with our program," Penn State head coach James Franklin said in the announcement. "Jim has an outstanding football mind and invaluable experience that will be a tremendous resource. He has great knowledge of the game at the next level, and we plan to put that to good use. He will work with our offensive, special teams and defensive coaches and will be a fantastic sounding board for our staff."

"I am thrilled to join the Penn State football family," Haslett said. "James is one of the great, young head coaches in the collegiate game today, and he is leading this Penn State program in the right direction. The future is very bright for Penn State football, and I am excited to be a part of it."

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.