Illinois Hire Bret Bielema As Head Football Coach

By Matthew Filipovits on December 19, 2020 at 10:24 am
Illinois head football coach Bret Bielema

Illinois has hired Bret Bielema as their next head football coach, bringing the former Wisconsin head coach back to the Big Ten.

An Illinois native, Bielema played his college football at Iowa, eventually joining the staff as a graduate assistant. He was hired as Wisconsin's defensive coordinator in 2004, before taking over as head coach in 2006. He won three Big Ten titles in Madison, before making a questionable move to Arkansas in 2013. He lasted five seasons in Fayetteville, going 29-34 in that span. He's spent the last three seasons in the NFL, winning Super Bowl LIII with the Patriots.

Bielema replaces Lovie Smith, one of the most respected coaches in the country. The Illini went 17-39 under Smith, making one bowl game in his five seasons.