Lovie Smith out: Illini football announces coach change; the former Bears coach led Illinois for 5 seasons

CHAMPAIGN, Illinois (WLS) – The University of Illinois football program drove head coach Lovie Smith on Sunday for a match remaining for the ninth consecutive losing season.

Smith led the Illini program for five seasons, the university said in a Sunday morning tweet.

He does not coach the team during the last match of the season.

The Big Ten is scheduled for another match for their teams next week, but opponents from teams not playing for the conference title have not yet been revealed.

After a 28-10 defeat on Saturday’s northwest, he set a 17-39 overall record and 10-33 in the Big Ten over five seasons, including a 2020 2-5 score.

Illini entered the field in a post-season under the direction of Smith, being knocked out of California in the Redbox Bowl by 35-20 in 2019. They scored 6-4 last season after an exciting return victory in Michigan State, but then lost their last three games.

The Intercollegiate Athletics department is launching a nationwide search to find Smith’s successor.

According to the school, Rod Smith’s offensive coordinator was promoted to head coach.

He was He was hired in 2016 as Illinois ’first black head coach, and received a two-year extension Until 2023 in 2018.

Smith’s original deal lasted six years and was $ 21 million.

According to his most recent contract extension, Smith will leave in 2020 with a total income of $ 6 million.

Illini Sports Director Josh Whitman praised Smith’s integrity and “unwavering leadership,” especially this season during the coronavirus epidemic.

“Nevertheless, based on a comprehensive assessment of the current state and future prospects of the program, I have concluded that the program is not progressing at the pace we would expect at this advanced stage of Smith’s coaching position,” Whitman said in a statement. “In order to achieve our competitive goals, I believe we need new leadership in the football program.”

While the 62-year-old Smith stumbled with Illini, he may have had some interest from NFL teams looking for help on the defensive side of the ball.

Smith spent nine seasons as head coach of the Chicago Bears, leading the team to three NFC North league titles, a Super Bowl appearance and a 81-63 record. He also went 8-24 at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in two seasons before being picked up by Illinois.

From 1996 to 2000, he coached the linebackers of the Bucs team, and from 2001 to 2003 he was the defense coordinator for the Rams.

The Associated Press contributed to the report.

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