Lovie Smith expected to become next head coach at Illinois

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Two months after he was fired as head coach of the Buccaneers, Lovie Smith is on the verge of getting another head-coaching job.

Smith is expected to be named head coach at Illinois, CBS Chicago and FOX Sports are reporting.

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.

24 responses to “Lovie Smith expected to become next head coach at Illinois

  1. All you have to be able to do is coach a little bit in college to confound most of the other coaches and recruit. Ron Zook proved you can recruit there, so if he has even relative success, he’ll get another NFL job after the Judas routine in Tampa. Just see Jim Mora and how many people call him every off-season, and I feel pretty confident saying Smith is 10 fold better than that guy.

  2. I think it’s a perfect hire. The only hold back is he’s going to give both his sons jobs and they aren’t coaching material. Other than that it’s the right person. I thought when they fired Beckman they would go after a former low end NFL HC and now they hopefully will. Notoriety is the key here for the time being and Lovie has that. Calm demeanor and probably a better leader of young men then he was during his 2nd stint. Go Lovie!

  3. College football is all about recruiting and I see Lovie failing at that utterly. Not to mention especially in Illinois where high school kids (and more importantly their parents) saw all his shortcomings every Sunday for years.

  4. Illini football has needed help badly for years. Hoping Lovie can right the ship! He probably does want back in the NFL but if he can sustain some success at U of I, head football coach for a major university can be a well paying job

  5. It’s extremely rare to get 3 NFL HC opportunities. Pete Carroll did it because he turned USC around so spectacularly. Smith knows his only path back to a head coaching gig in the NFL is to win the Big 10 – no mean feat in the same conference with Urban Meyer and Jim Harbaugh.

  6. Most college coaches have a fire about them. They yell and get mad. Lovie just stands there with a dumb look on his face all game. I hope it works out for him. But I’m not sure his personality is a good fit for college ball.

  7. bearflagfan ,

    Meyer will be gone in a couple of years, and I doubt Harbaugh sticks around past his first recruiting class. Let’s not act like the Big 10 is murderer’s row past those 2 coaches.

  8. Sorry, tbf22, the Bears did that to him through years of torture and brainwashing, oh sorry, I wasn’t supposed to tell anybody about that (my bad). He will be just fine as a college coach.

  9. Let him come coach your team before you start praising him. So many horrible decisions by him here in Tampa. Stubborn as hell sitting Jonathan banks on the bench while I watch Jennings and Jenkins getting torched. Enough with the Rex grossman bs, you should be praising the Gm putting that defense together and Lovie has made a career out of it. He went shopping for the groceries here and bought spoiled food or maybe it’s that his scheme doesn’t work without future hall of famers and perrenial probowl players

  10. Oh and josh mccown over glennon? Thanks for winston though had he not say Glennon back on the bench we wouldn’t have winston

  11. Not sure he will help Illinois get better recruits but college is a much better place for Lovie than the NFL.

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