Packers expected to request interview with Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald

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USA TODAY

Packers expected to request interview with Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald

Brace yourself, Northwestern and Bears football fans. This might be tough to hear.

According to multiple reports, the Packers are expected to request an interview with Northwestern head football coach Pat Fitzgerald for Green Bay's head coaching vacancy. The request is expected to come after Northwestern plays in the Holiday Bowl on Monday, according to ESPN.

As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noted, a connection exists between Fitzgerald and the Bears' long-time rival. Before becoming CEO of the Packers, Mark Murphy, who was Northwestern's Athletic Director from 2003-07, hired Fitzgerald as a coach.

Fitzgerald signed a contract-extension with Northwestern in April 2017 that runs through 2026 football season. The Packers interviewing Fitzgerald is not a guarantee that they will hire him. However, the thought of the long-time Northwestern coach sporting "rival" colors surely will not rest easy with Chicago football fans.

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.

Karen Umlauf named associate coach for Bulls' summer league team

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Chicago Bulls

Karen Umlauf named associate coach for Bulls' summer league team

Women coaching in the NBA has become a revelation in recent memory. Recently, the Spurs promoted Becky Hammon for a top job by Gregg Popovich. Plus, she also had an interview with the Bucks this spring. Now, Karen Umlauf, the longtime Bulls Senior Director of Basketball Administration has been named associate coach for NBA Summer League Bulls.

Umlauf has been around the game of basketball her whole life. She was a varsity basketball player at Northwestern, and she also appeared in the Wildcats’ first NCAA Tournament.

Hall of Fame general manager Jerry Krause, attributed with beginning the Bulls’ dynasty of the 90s, probably had some help from Umlauf’s brother, who was Krause’s top assistant.

Her father, sister and her younger brother all played basketball. In fact, former Wisconsin star and current Charlotte Hornet Frank Kaminsky is her nephew.

"I know it sounds trite, but I really want to learn," Umlauf told NBA.com. "I'm not saying I'm looking to be the first head coach or anything like that. I feel I haven't fully tapped into what I'm capable of yet. But I know I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization. I can bring a different perspective and feel with my front office experience that also would help in communications."

“I want to be involved with coaching and the players, learn how we are doing things and help the coaches and the players and the organization.”

Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations, John Paxon spoke highly of Umlauf and is excited to give her this opportunity.

“We probably have waited too long to give her an opportunity like this," said Bulls Executive Vice-president of Basketball Operations John Paxson. "We all think the world of Karen. She's a smart basketball person and this gives her an opportunity. Gar (Forman, general manager) and I talked to her a while back and said we'd like to do something along these lines. She's a talented person, a longtime Chicago Bull.”

The cool thing is Krause actually asked Umlauf if she wanted to work for him, and 34 years later she’ll continue to pursue her dream.

"I'm super excited," Umlauf says. "I'm looking forward to helping."