Big Ten

Report: Ex-Northwestern OC is Lovie Smith's 'top target' for Illini OC

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Report: Ex-Northwestern OC is Lovie Smith's 'top target' for Illini OC

Former Northwestern offensive coordinator Garrick McGee is Lovie Smith's "clear top target" for the same position at Illinois, according to a report.

Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reported Tuesday, a day after Smith was introduced as the new Illinois head coach, that McGee was Smith's top choice for his offensive coordinator.

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McGee is currently the offensive coordinator at Louisville, where he's spent the past two seasons after his departure from UAB, where he was the head coach for two seasons. McGee spent four seasons, from 2004 to 2007, as an assistant at Northwestern, working under both Randy Walker and Pat Fitzgerald. The final two years of that tenure were as the Wildcats' offensive coordinator. He has also worked as the offensive coordinator at Arkansas.

A Tulsa native, McGee played quarterback at Oklahoma. Tulsa is Smith's alma mater and where he got his first collegiate coaching job in the 1980s.

Last season, McGee's Louisville offense ranked 51st in the country in total offensive yardage, while the passing game ranked 44th in total passing yardage. The season prior, Louisville ranked 68th in total offensive yardage and 43rd in total passing yardage.

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.