Big Ten

Rutgers president explains Flood's firing, announces Hermann's replacement

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Rutgers president explains Flood's firing, announces Hermann's replacement

Rutgers University president Robert Barchi officially announced the firings of head football coach Kyle Flood and athletics director Julie Hermann on Sunday in a letter to the university community.

In the letter — published by NJ.com — Barchi offered praise for both but said it was time to make a change.

"Kyle Flood has been a loyal and dedicated member of our community for more than a decade and our head football coach for four seasons, during which his teams won 26 games and played in three bowl games," Barchi wrote. "However, our continued struggles on the field combined with several off-the-field issues have convinced me that we need new leadership of our football program. I want to thank Kyle for his service to Rutgers and I also wish him and his family well in his next endeavor.

"Julie came to Rutgers in 2013, at a time when the program was in turmoil, with a vision at where she could take our athletics program," Barchi wrote. "I believe, however, at this point, when major changes are being made in our football program, we need a fresh start. Having reached that conclusion this past week, it would not have been fair to Julie, to Rutgers and our student athletes, or to potential football coaching candidates, for her to continue in her role. She is a capable administrator whose dedication and passion for Rutgers never waned, and I wish her and her family all the best in the next step in her journey."

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Barchi also used the letter to announce Hermann's replacement, Patrick Hobbs. Hobbs is the dean of the law school at Seton Hall University and previously served as interim athletics director there.

Interestingly, Barchi described the process of bringing Hobbs aboard, explaining that he reached out to him to be the interim athletics director at Rutgers before deciding that he should serve in a permanent capacity. That decision, per Barchi, came Friday, a day before Flood's final game at Rutgers and two days before Hermann was actually fired.

Hobbs will lead the search for the next head football coach.

"The search for a new head football coach will begin immediately and will be led by Pat Hobbs, with input from Greg Brown, Ken Schmidt and me," Barchi wrote. "We all believe that Rutgers football can be competitive in the Big Ten Conference, and we will find the right coach who can get us to that place. In the coming days and weeks, you may read and hear rumors, speculation, opinions and concerns, regarding the football search. I ask for your patience and trust, as the leaders of your university help write a new chapter in our history."

Flood was fired after four seasons, posting a 27-24 record and just completing his first sub-.500 regular season at 4-8. He led the Knights to three bowl games, but his team was plagued by off-field headlines this season, including multiple players getting arrested and an academic scandal involving Flood knowingly violating university rules in attempting to influence a player's grade, something that earned the coach a three-game suspension.

Hermann's tenure didn't even last three years and was dominated by repeated public-relations blunders. She didn't hire either Flood or men's basketball coach Eddie Jordan.

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.