Big Ten

Report: Illini to name Washington University's Josh Whitman new AD


Report: Illini to name Washington University's Josh Whitman new AD

A search that's taken months might finally be coming to an end.

According to a Tuesday-night report from CBS Chicago's Ryan Baker, Illinois will name Josh Whitman its new athletics director.

Whitman is currently the athletics director at Washington University in St. Louis but has deep ties to Illinois. Whitman played as a tight end for the Illini football team for four years, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors his senior season, Academic All-Big Ten honors three times and Illinois’ Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete award three years in a row. He graduated from the university in 2001 and returned to work in various capacities in the Illinois athletics department from 2005 to 2008 while also earning his law degree in Champaign.

Between his college career and his time working at Illinois, he pursued a professional football career with four different NFL teams.

Whitman has worked as Washington's AD since August 2014, which followed a four-year tenure as the athletics director at Wisconsin-La Crosse.

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Illinois is still in need of a new athletics director following Mike Thomas' departure back in November after a complete report revealed ugly details of the behavior of former head football coach Tim Beckman.

It wasn't until a full month after Thomas' departure that the school even announced that a search for a new athletics director was underway, with interim chancellor Barbara Wilson announcing that a search committee of faculty members and others with university ties would be conducting the search. Two weeks after that, the school announced the search firm Korn Ferry would help with the search for Thomas' replacement.

And during the process, one report described the search's dysfunction, with candidates contacted via their university email addresses, vetting done in atypical fashion and interest impacted due to Wilson's interim status.

Whitman was reported as one of the seven candidates Illinois was interviewing earlier this month.

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.