Lovie Smith receives 2-year contract extension through 2023

#26
I
Tepper got 5 years.
Turner got 8
Zook got 7
Beckman got 3 only because of a scandal

When have we lacked stability?
Tepper inherited probably the best defenses Illinois ever had and landed some others. But he was not HC material and his offenses were bad/simple. Fans/recruits lost interest.

Turner/Zook both inherited little talent. Both had painful rebuilds, both brought talent, went to major bowls. Both regressed. Thought Turner lost interest and didn't coach the details well. Zook similar but felt Zook could be retained with better Coordinators.
Many former players called for stability vs. full change. Enter the Lasagna Period.
 
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#27
Kliff Klingsbury was just fired for going 35-40 in six seasons. Lovie would need to go 26 -13 in the next 3 seasons (which is NOT happening) just to match a record that got a coach fired. That power house Texas Tech has higher football standards than our school and fan base. There was no need for an extension he had 3 years on the contract after this season, the original contract was 6 years.

Fedora fired after going 45-43
Bobby Petrino fired after going 36-26
3 years prior to Lovie's arrival 15-22
Lovie 9-27
Trajectory matters.
 
#28
Admin
Illinois AD Josh Whitman press conference

Whitman: I think it's important that everybody understands that I spend many waking hours thinking about what I can do to help our football program become successful.

Whitman: I see the work our staff is doing. I see the plans around the program. I have an inside-look at this program. Today's announcement is a culmination of that assessment.

Whitman: "I do think that stability is incredibly important. I believe in Lovie Smith."

Whitman: I think we need to go out and attract some new faces to the coaching staff.

Whitman: I'm not going to sit here and say that we've had as much on-field success as we would have liked over the last three years.

Whitman: I think we made tremendous growth on the offensive side of the football. I think we put out a good group on special teams. Didn't do what we wanted defensively. Yesterday, the defense put us in position to win the game.

Whitman: We thought that after this third year, it was important to send that signal. It's an important time as we head into this recruiting cycle. We've got three intense weeks of recruiting ahead of us.

Whitman: Still working through some of the buyout terms. Bring it to the board in January. It won't be a new contract. Don't anticipate an increased salary.

Whitman: Eventually, we have to go from being a young football team to being a mature football team. This decision allows that to happen.

Whitman: It's not a validation of Lovie Smith. It's a validation of Illinois football.

Whitman: We're 3 years into this, with 2 recruiting classes. That's not nearly enough time to take a step forward, coming from where we were. It's easy to forget the situation that we put Coach Smith in. He needs the runway that's necessary to move forward.

Whitman: Incredibly impressed with Rod Smith. He's come in and provided tremendous leadership.

Whitman noted that they have had "preliminary" discussions to keep Rod Smith around long-term.

https://twitter.com/isaac_trotter2
 
#29
Good move by Josh, IMHO. For every example just given about other coaches who fail at other programs after being given extra years, there are likewise examples of successful coaches who just needed time to get their program going. What's the alternative? An expensive buyout, trying to find a new coach, losing a ton of players yet again, starting all over yet again, years and years and years before there's any chance of success. I'm glad that you are staying the course, Josh.

How many freshmen started last year? And then how many freshman started again this year? It's a painful but necessary way to build in light of the utter mess that Beckman left behind after trying to turn Illinois into a mid-level MAC program..
 
#31
Mascoutah, IL
I'd prefer they move on to a different staff, but my take on the extension depends on how his salary/buy out are negotiated into it. If there is no additional, or minimal, money added it's about as good as we could expect. I don't buy Whitman's sob story letter one bit. I'm impressed with the positive improvement on offense, but none of that is a result of Lovie Smith as a head coach. His bread and butter is defense, and we just witnessed some historically bad defense before us. What exactly is he getting paid for?

Doubled win total:
This is about as hollow of an argument as I can imagine. The only good/respectable win of the 4 was the Minnesota win, which appears to be a fluke. We needed a 4th quarter comeback and final goal line defensive stand to beat Kent St. to open the season. We only led FCS WIU 14-7 at the half for our second win with the total yards about even for both teams. The third win was against an atrocious Rutgers team, where again the total yards for each team was about even. The win against Minnesota was good. The moral victory he claims against USF is weak because they put up 626 yards against us. Even if you buy that argument, how do you tangibly measure that pulling off an upset win drastically changes the course of the season? If you think that, then the following blow out losses we suffered surely fall squarely on the coaching staff for not being able to rally the troops.

Stability:
As previously mentioned: Tepper got 5 years, Turner got 8, Zook got 7, Beckman got 3 (because of a scandal). Being a mediocre/bad coach at Illinois has provided tremendous coaching stability at the head coach level. Stability ends at the head coach because there was and will be major turnover to the entire coaching staff. Only 4 out of the original 9 coaches on Lovies staff remain. I'd lose no sleep over Ligashesky leaving and minimal sleep over Andrew Hayes Stoker leaving. Adding to that coaching instability will be 2/3 new defensive hires this year. Most of the turnover has been on the defensive side of the staff, and all that from a Defensive minded head coach.

Talent/Recruiting:
The claim is we are seeing more top talent in Champaign than ever in a decade. It's a false statement when looking at where IL falls nationally in recruit rankings, and doesn't even take into consideration that the bulk of the talent that made our mediocre ranking high was either kicked off the team or has transferred.

It will be intersting to see how the off season goes. If they can minimize transfers, hire proven/good recruiters and coaches for the empty spots, and pull off a GOOD recruiting class (top 30/40) then there is some cause for optimism going into next season. Even if that all happens, what exaclty is Lovie getting paid to do then?
 
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#32
Even though Lovie will not change scheme DC coordinator pick will be huge and need a new DB coach.
 
#33

Deleted member 643761

D
Guest
Kliff Klingsbury was just fired for going 35-40 in six seasons. Lovie would need to go 26 -13 in the next 3 seasons (which is NOT happening) just to match a record that got a coach fired. That power house Texas Tech has higher football standards than our school and fan base. There was no need for an extension he had 3 years on the contract after this season, the original contract was 6 years.

Fedora fired after going 45-43
Bobby Petrino fired after going 36-26
3 years prior to Lovie's arrival 15-22
Lovie 9-27
Coaches aren't fired for their overall record. They're fired for the perceived trajectory of the program.
 
#34
New York City, N.Y. City
Let’s say we had the option to release Lovie after the 2019 season for a $8 million buyout on a six-year contract that would expire in 2021. And now we have the option to release Lovie after the 2019 season for a $8 million buyout on an extended eight year contract that will expire in 2023. Explain to me what’s so outrageous and stupid about that? What am I missing?

Of course, if the extension increases the buyout to $12 million in 2019, that’s a different story. I watched the same 0-63 game that everyone else did. But at this stage I haven’t heard that’s what Whitman is doing.
 
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#35
This sums it up: “We're 3 years into this, with 2 recruiting classes. That's not nearly enough time to take a step forward, coming from where we were. It's easy to forget the situation that we put Coach Smith in. He needs the runway that's necessary to move forward.”

I still think Lovie’s gone after next year if there is not improvement in the win column and eye test. That seems fair.
 
#37
It felt like Josh was channeling Churchill. I hope it turns out the same
 
#39
I know very little about the economics of the athletic programs, where does buyout money come from? For example:

On a warm, sunny day last month (2016) at the University of Iowa, head football coach Kirk Ferentz wore a white shirt and gold-striped tie to a special announcement about his future. He had just signed the deal of a lifetime — the biggest contract of his life, with enough guarantees to make him a rich man well into his retirement, win or lose.

The new contract included several generous provisions:

► Even if he’s fired after this season for not winning enough games, the 61-year-old Ferentz would be owed more than $25 million, payable in monthly installments until 2026.

► He’s guaranteed an additional $22 million from 2021 through 2025 if he sticks around and wins at least seven games each season through 2020. It wouldn’t matter if he’s dismissed in 2021 after finishing 0-12.

► If that’s not enough, those guarantees wouldn’t even be reduced if Iowa fired him and he took a lucrative new job somewhere else.
 
#42
Absolutely great. The Lovie gravy train is heading to the boat. Next year will be fantastic. Great move by JW. UI football is back.
 
#44
As soon as Whitman decided not to fire Lovie this was the right thing to do or he would have been seen as a hot seat lame duck coach. This hopefully allows Illinois to hold on to the couple top recruits we have and possibly stop them from using his lame duck status against Illinois in recruiting.
 
#45
I like the decision. The offense is moving in the right direction. We desperately need a good DC. If we can land the right DC, this will end up looking like a solid decision.
 
#46
Our fanbase is not very sensible when it comes to rebuilds. They take time and, to use the word of the day, stability. Your seeds will never grow if you keep plowing the field. This was never going to be a 2-3 year rebuild regardless of who we hired for either program.
2017- 2-10
2018- 4-8

How is this not an improvement? Think of the days before Lovie was hired during the Cubit era....

I for one am very glad they gave their show of support for him. He is arguably the best Illinois Football coach I have seen this side of the century.
 
#47
Why can other schools rebuild in 2 or 3 years?
Every situation is different. The Illinois football program has been a bottom half of the big ten team my entire life and the past decade has been especially brutal. So we are starting at a greater deficit than most programs.

Basketball is a bit more perplexing. Should only take 3 recruiting classes to turn a program around. Not sure why we've struggled so much to climb out of that hole.
 
#48
Whitman is trying to lay the groundwork for a sustained program. Firing a coach every 3 years will not work at Illinois and will not attract a good coaching staff. Look at what the Steelers, Pat's, Packers have done over the lady 20 years. Look at NU, Iowa, MSU... they have down years but stability of coaches and players the key.

Allow Lovie to hire a DC coach and recruit with the new facilities. Allow his Frosh to be upperclassmen. Lovie hasn't recruited Illinois well. Hopefully with longevity, winning, facilities this will improve.

I like Whitman's letter, need to retain players, coaches, recruits.
The difference in the programs you named and this program is those coaches have won at those jobs, Lovie's 3 years have been a nightmare. Retaining a bad coach is just kicking the can down the road something we have mastered.
 
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#49
Why can other schools rebuild in 2 or 3 years?
Well let's at least look at the situation in context a little bit.

Lovie chose to run off the players he inherited in favor of playing raw, unprepared freshmen. I think the claims made here about the talent of those players are laughable nonsense and that choosing to run them off was a gigantic mistake. But there's no use crying over spilled milk, that's what he did, what's done is done.

The reason other schools can rebuild in 2 or 3 years is because they get buy-in from the players they inherited and with their coaching acumen and player development ability they mold those guys into solid contributors and leaders, supplemented by a sprinkling of the best of their own hand picked recruits. That's how they do it in that amount of time. And they all do it, that is the story of every successful rebuild, and claims to the contrary are falsehoods.

We ran those players off, so we did not have that opportunity. No coach could have won with the lineups we chose to field in 2017. As for this season, we should have been better than we were, but we still badly lacked that veteran leadership that Lovie made the affirmative choice to jettison. We chose to construct the roster in a way that would push competitiveness down the road a couple of years, in lieu of trying to be respectable in the meantime.

The good news is, that story is now the past. Illinois is a veteran football team now, an extremely experienced one. We have more than enough to be a 6-7 win team next year, I honestly think we probably will be.

And if we're not, it's about as easy and thoroughly researched and proven of a decision as an AD will ever make. If we're not good next year, Lovie is not the answer, that's all she wrote.
 
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#50
I don't understand some people...
IL football has sucked for pretty much the last 20 years. What exactly does it hurt to have sucked one more year?

Next year Lovie brings in his 3rd recruiting class and wins 6 games. Then in 2020 we enter territory that Illini fans are completely unfamilar with. A stable program with veteran players ready to put on a show. We've sucked for almost 20 but can't be patient for just ONE more year?