Big Ten

Report: Maryland to hire D.J. Durkin as next head coach

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Report: Maryland to hire D.J. Durkin as next head coach

Maryland is expected to hire Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin to be the program’s next head football coach, according to Pete Thamel of SI.com.

Durkin, 37, is a native of Youngstown, Ohio, and is in his first season as the Wolverines’ defensive coordinator. Under his watch, Michigan was the sixth-ranked defense in the country in terms of points per game (17.2) and fifth in the country in yards allowed per play (4.2).

Against Maryland this season in College Park, the Wolverines allowed just 105 total yards and shut out the Terrapins.

In coming to Ann Arbor, Durkin reunited with head coach Jim Harbaugh, who he worked for on staff at Stanford from 2007-09. He left Stanford in 2010 to join the staff at Florida, where he eventually became the team’s defensive coordinator.

After the firing of head coach Will Muschamp last season, Durkin served as the interim head coach and led the Gators to a bowl win over East Carolina in the Birmingham bowl.

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In a feature story in the New York TimesDurkin was described as a “type-A personality” and someone who “approaches the game the same way Jim [Harbaugh] does.”

At the start of Maryland’s search for a coach, president Wallace Loh noted that Maryland wanted to hire someone with an “outsized personality” to be the program’s next coach.

That personality seems to pay dividends on the recruiting trail. In 2012, Rivals.com named Durkin the Recruiter of the Year for the class he helped to put together at Florida.

Three years later under head coach Jim McElwain, the Gators are 10-2 and set to face Alabama in the SEC title game.

As it currently stands, Michigan's 2016 class is ranked No. 3 in the nation with nine four-star recruits.

Maryland has been in search of a coach since firing Randy Edsall on Oct. 11 after the team's loss to Ohio State. Edsall was replaced by offensive coordinator Mike Locksley on an interim basis to finish the season. 

Under Locksley's watch, the Terrapins were 1-5 -- winning their season finale against Rutgers with the help of a 21-point comeback. It is unclear immediately if Locksley will return to Maryland or in what capacity if he does.

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.