Football Coaching Staff / Coaching Carousel Thread

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the Front Range
When do we stop calling it a rebuild and realize we're just a bad program?
I think the BCS bowl games made people delusional (sugar and rose). I remember back in 2007 an old professor of mine said people in Champaign have no idea how to handle the Illini success and don’t realize we aren’t a football school. I was kinda offended. He attended school during the slush fund.

After watching the last 10yrs, I agree with him. Us fans (on this board) really want that to change, but there is no evidence that the school has any interest. Since watching my first games with Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice, I’m still waiting for a serious commitment from the university.
 
We need Locksley back to recruit and we need to hire a competent defensive coach. We need a decent name to step in so we dont lose some of the good young recruits like Roundtree and Avery. Someone who can keep Beason and Williams on board. Does this person exist?
Does Lovie have any more kids?
 
I’m still waiting for a serious commitment from the university.
We paid an ungodly amount of money for Lovie and Underwood. We are spending a greater percentage of our athletic department funds on revenue sport head coaches (and staff budgets) than our peers. This is just night and day from the Guenther years.

It's absurd to suggest that the University of Illinois belongs as a pathetic sideshow to places like Oregon State and Kansas State and Boston College and Wake Forest across both sports, and that's where we've been of late.

I know those two statements are hard to square, but that's just the reality of where we find ourselves. It's a pickle.
 
I took a look at history, and offer a few comments regarding what history tells us, and look forward to hearing what others think. I have lost all confidence and belief that this staff can right the ship, BTW. Here are are few numbers to consider. Since John Mackovic left town (after the 1991 season), in 27 seasons of Illinois football, the Illini have had a winning record in conference play in exactly 4 of those seasons ('92, '93, Tepper; 2001, Turner; 2007, the Zooker). The Illini were even in conference play (4-4) in 4 seasons ('94; '99; 2002; 2010). That means that Illinois Football has had a losing record in Conference play in 19 of the last 27 seasons. Of those 19 seasons, 15 seasons the record included 2 or fewer wins. Since the Chief was escorted off the property, record in conference play is 26W, 69L. If you take out year one post Chief, when the Zooker got the Illini to 6-2, the conference record is 20W, 67L. Ripping off wins at a winning Percentage of 0.230. I realize that the University didn't give a damn for a generation (or longer), and now we are asking a staff that really is not suited to the college game to recruit, coach, and turn it around. I believed that there would be an uptick in recruiting; haven't seen it. I thought that there would be organization and discipline on D; Really haven't seen it. I do believe that the University now would like to turn it around, thus the contracts and staff. It is not working. I don't think that Lovie has the ability to take the necessary steps and adjust to the college game on his own. Mr. Whitman, I have tremendous confidence in you; It is your move.
Why do you have (tremendous) confidence in Whitman's ability to recruit coaches? HIs first three hires were Smith, Underwood and Fahey. Smith's B10 record is 3-20. Underwood 4-14. Fahey 0-16. On the plus side, Tamas is 21-11.
 
Plainfield
It’s not a good sign that Lovie has (or soon will) replaced both coordinators within his first three seasons. I just don’t see how this turns out well. I will say that Illinois experienced its best success when experienced major college head coaches were here (White and Mackovic - and mild success under Zook). Lovie doesn’t know the college game. His defense is obviously not well suited to defend college offenses. These were concerns when he was hired but the star power of his name made us want to believe he could get the job done.
 
I will say that Illinois experienced its best success when experienced major college head coaches were here (White and Mackovic - and mild success under Zook). Lovie doesn’t know the college game.
Worth noting that White and Mackovic both came to Illinois from the NFL, and that Lovie was a college assistant for 12 years including multiple major programs before he went to the NFL.

I think there is some truth to Lovie being a poor fit as a college coach at this point in his career, but I don't think it's as cut-and-dried as "NFL coaches = bad".
 
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Austin, TX
His defense is obviously not well suited to defend college offenses.
As someone stated in Tweet, that is because he has no Urlacker.

His D philosophy is not suspect. He just does not have the quality players to execute and he is just too boneheaded to change to adjust for the quality of his players.

IF he were to recruit and get his type of players, his D will be good/respected.

OR he has to change his D philosophy to cater to the kids he has.

He has done neither.
 
Normal, Illinois
Why do you have (tremendous) confidence in Whitman's ability to recruit coaches? HIs first three hires were Smith, Underwood and Fahey. Smith's B10 record is 3-20. Underwood 4-14. Fahey 0-16. On the plus side, Tamas is 21-11.
All three of those hires came with complete rebuilds in mind. I'm going to wait another season or two to make judgments on Underwood and Fahey. Criticism of Lovie is more justified at this point, but I think because of his buyout and because of the situation he walked into, he's going to be here at least one more season. Illinois has a reputation with many who don't regularly follow the program as being a place where coach's careers go to die, as well as having unreasonable expectations on the success of their programs. Both are oversimplified assumptions that ignore the complex reasons behind the decline of the Illinois revenue sports, but firing Lovie after he's only had two recruitment classes of his own won't do anything to improve Illinois' athletics general image and will only validate the perception of being a place with unreasonable expectations.
 
Lovie has to do two things in my mind before next season to hopefully give us a shot at winning and save his job.

Stop the musical chairs in the secondary. Find the guys you think work best and stick with them. I understand the suspensions and Williams departure has hurt but time to get that stabilized.

Absolutely have to move on from Austin Clark and find someone who can get the most out of our most seasoned and talented group next year.

If the Defense isn't drastically improved next year helping lead us to a bowl game, I cannot in good faith argue for a 5th Lovie year.
 
Captain 'Paign
Phoenix, AZ
I've seen this posted many, many times over the past 25 years... So my question is: what is your definition of QUICK and which guy is the RIGHT GUY ? ?
Quick would be two or three seasons tops. Four is average. If I knew the answer to the second question I'd be shouting it from the rooftops but I don't. I thought Monken or Babers were pretty obvious during our last coaching search, but obviously JW went for the bolder, out of the box strategy.
 
Little Rock, Arkansas
Quick would be two or three seasons tops. Four is average. If I knew the answer to the second question I'd be shouting it from the rooftops but I don't. I thought Monken or Babers were pretty obvious during our last coaching search, but obviously JW went for the bolder, out of the box strategy.
Babers wasn’t available by the time Whitman had the power to hire him. Remember that Lovie was hired in March outside the normal carousel.

It was putting the interim tag on Cubit and not wanting to make a permanent decision that led us to missing Babers.

Babers took the Cuse job in December of 2015. Whitman was hired in February of 2016.
 
Geneseo, IL
So will Whitman give another "State of the Program" news conference like he did after last season? If I remember correctly his main message was for fans to keep the faith that he had full confidence in Smith to get things turned around. It will be interesting to see what if any public comment he makes in regard to the football program after the season.
 
It’s not a good sign that Lovie has (or soon will) replaced both coordinators within his first three seasons. I just don’t see how this turns out well. I will say that Illinois experienced its best success when experienced major college head coaches were here (White and Mackovic - and mild success under Zook). Lovie doesn’t know the college game. His defense is obviously not well suited to defend college offenses. These were concerns when he was hired but the star power of his name made us want to believe he could get the job done.
Lovie's defense would 100% work in college. IF he had the personal. It is built on 1 on 1 matchups. Since our boys are not as big, as strong, and sure as hell not as fast, we get rolled every week.
 
Likes: KevinC
Fun fact: Rod Smith is the only member of our staff who has been a full staff member at a Power Five program other than Illinois more recently than 2003. (Ligs and Lovie were prior to that).

Change that this offseason.
 
Fun fact: Rod Smith is the only member of our staff who has been a full staff member at a Power Five program other than Illinois more recently than 2003. (Ligs and Lovie were prior to that).

Change that this offseason.
This is the biggest issue I have with Lovie. A HC's most important job is to find and develop good assistant coaches. If he does this, he can win with below average recruiting and a plain vanilla offense; Iowa and Northwestern are very good examples of this. Lovie has done a miserable job with his staff hires (other than Rod Smith), and unless this changes he is bound to fail
 
Lovie has done a miserable job with his staff hires
Thad Ward was an excellent hire. It took him awhile, but Ligs has produced Illinois' first really good special teams unit since like 1875. Hayes-Stoker and Cory Patterson have both landed some big fish on the recruiting trail.

On paper Garrick McGee was a huge coup, just stealing Bobby Petrino's OC right under his nose in March. And he had a wealth of Power Five coordinator experience, as well as a brief head coaching tenure. It's tough to explain why that went so wrong.

It's tough to explain how a lot of things in the Lovie Era have gone so wrong.

It makes you wonder if there's more to the story than what we on the outside know.
 
Chicago
I’m already in coaching search mode. Maybe too early for an official thread but just throwing names out.

Young HCs
Neal Brown - Troy
- 38 years old, offensive background, dominating his conference, knocked off LSU and Nebraska last 2 years, Vic Koening is his DC
Luke Fickell - Cincy
- 45 years old, defensive background, OSU player and coach, having great season, strong defense

Experienced coaches
Rich Rod
Schiano
Bielema

Coordinators
Dave Aranda - LSU DC
Ryan Day - OSU OC
Mike Locksley - Bama OC
Jake Spavital - WVU OC
Sterlin Gilbert - USF OC
 
If we're a year away from coaching search mode, a couple of coaches to keep your eye on that might be a year away from becoming big time candidates are Lance Leipold at Buffalo and Jay Norvell at Nevada.

Very different backgrounds, but both look like they've got things pointed in the right direction.
 
Lovie gets next year, well at least part of it, I could see him getting fired midseason if something similar happens compared to this year. Old Dog Lovie needs to learn some new tricks, and learn them fast. We will have experience and some playmaking talent next year. Combined with a weak schedule, we need to get to 6 wins. At this point 4/5 should mean Lovie gets canned.

If the football gods have any sympathy, they wont make us watch a triple option in Champaign. Whether or not it could or would be successful, its so painfully boring to watch (and theres reasons most P5 schools dont run it). Also takes a borderline genius at QB to run it well.

Bielema would come here and he would be successful. He’s kind of a jerk but he would be successful.
I'm not so sure, he seems washed up at this point. Sure he was deity level at Wisconsin, but his personality and hugely underperforming Arkansas tenure make me hesitant to hire him.

Neal Brown - Troy
- 38 years old, offensive background, dominating his conference, knocked off LSU and Nebraska last 2 years, Vic Koening is his DC
My personal vote. Troy is legit, and I would not be in any way upset to see Koenning back.
 
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Chicago
Lovie gets next year, well at least part of it, I could see him getting fired midseason if something similar happens compared to this year. Old Dog Lovie needs to learn some new tricks, and learn them fast. We will have experience and some playmaking talent next year. Combined with a weak schedule, we need to get to 6 wins. At this point 4/5 should mean Lovie gets canned.

If the football gods have any sympathy, they wont make us watch a triple option in Champaign. Whether or not it could or would be successful, its so painfully boring to watch (and theres reasons most P5 schools dont run it). Also takes a borderline genius at QB to run it well.



I'm not so sure, he seems washed up at this point. Sure he was deity level at Wisconsin, but his personality and hugely underperforming Arkansas tenure make me hesitant to hire him.



My personal vote. Troy is legit, and I would not be in any way upset to see Koenning back.
Yeah Brown was one of my top guys before even realizing he has VK on staff. That’s the icing for me. Young offensive mind building a great program that knows he needs a quality DC to offset his specialty. Also, supposedly he’s a solid recruiter. And he’s from Kentucky so kinda midwestern, not necessarily gonna turn down a northern job.

I disagree on your assessment of next year. If you’re gonna crater a team this far, you need a substantial turn around, like 8 wins, in year 4. 6 is not a reason to keep Lovie. Also, if he’s lost his team, which appears quite possible, you absolutely have to fire him this year.
 
Just to set expectations, Brown *might* not take the job.

Is he Auburn or Florida State's next head coach? Both jobs will initially set their sights higher, but he might be.

I wouldn't get too locked in on any one candidate. What you want is someone who understands the Illinois job, wants the Illinois job, and has a well thought out plan to be successful in the Illinois job. If the guy we want doesn't want it, we don't actually want him as much as we think we do.

But Brown is a definite possibility.
 
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