Big Ten

Spartans' Mark Dantonio wants no part of question about South Carolina job

mark-dantonio-0911.png

Spartans' Mark Dantonio wants no part of question about South Carolina job

When news broke Monday night that Steve Spurrier was retiring as the head coach at South Carolina, the instant reaction from many on social media was to start speculating at who the next head coach at South Carolina could be.

One of the names tossed around was Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio, who graduated from South Carolina and played for the Gamecocks in the 1970s.

So is Dantonio going to go home?

You were expecting an answer so soon?

The first question of Dantonio's Tuesday press conference was in regards to the sudden job opening in Columbia, S.C., and he wanted no part of answering it.

Take a look:

Quickly brushing this aside seems the appropriate response for someone who's in the middle of a season — an undefeated season, at that — at a different institution.

Going from Michigan State to South Carolina at this point in time would at first glance figure to be at best a lateral move and more realistically a step down. After all, Dantonio has worked to build the Spartans into a national championship contender, turning in double-digit wins in four of the last five campaigns and finishing the last two seasons with big-time bowl victories in the Rose Bowl and Cotton Bowl. And while it's taken a while for national observers to group Michigan State with other national powers, it seems that respect has finally arrived this season, thanks in large part to a big Week 2 win over Oregon.

Though we've seen Big Ten coaches depart what seemed like top-flight jobs for opportunities in the SEC before. Bret Bielema comes to mind, as he left Wisconsin for Arkansas after leading the Badgers to three straight Rose Bowl appearances. Nick Saban went from Michigan State to LSU, though that was at a time when the Spartans were nowhere the level of success they are now. To be fair, coaches who had success in the SEC have also made their way to the Big Ten for better opportunities. Urban Meyer went from Florida to Ohio State (after a year off) and James Franklin went from Vanderbilt to Penn State.

Those circumstances are all different and can't be directly compared, of course, to Dantonio's situation. But it would be an incredibly shocking move for the entrenched Dantonio to bolt East Lansing for a job rebuilding a program that's nowhere near the top of the ultra-competitive SEC.

That being said, he didn't say no.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

jeremy_larkin.jpg
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

anderson.jpg
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.