Two months after he was fired as head coach of the Buccaneers, Lovie Smith is on the verge of getting another head-coaching job.
The Illinois football program has gone through a tumultuous year: Coach Tim Beckman was fired just before the start of the 2015 season after he was accused of mistreating players. Interim head coach Bill Cubit led the Illini to a 5-7 season and was told at the end of the year that he’d be permitted to keep the job, but today new Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman fired Cubit.
Now Smith, who knows the state well from his time as head coach of the Bears, is poised to become the third Illinois head coach in the last eight months. For the 57-year-old Smith, it’s another opportunity to serve as a head coach after being fired in his two previous jobs. But it’s an odd fit, as Smith hasn’t coached in college since he was the defensive backs coach at Ohio State in 1995. And Smith has never been a college head coach. Smith likely wouldn’t take the Illinois job if he thought he had a chance at another NFL job.