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Koenning Turns Down Offer To Stay On Illini Staff

Vic Koenning. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Vic Koenning. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

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(CBS) Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning won’t stay on the Illini coaching staff next season despite an offer from new head coach Tim Beckman to remain with the team.

Koenning will still serve as interim head coach against UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

“We wish Vic nothing but the best as he decides the next destination in his career,” Beckman said in a statement. “He was given the opportunity to remain at Illinois as defensive coordinator, where he has done a fabulous job over the last two seasons. Vic’s work as interim head coach in preparing the team for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl has been excellent and I know he will remain focused on helping the Fighting Illini prepare for the game.”

Koenning expressed gratitude for the offer, but ultimately decided it was better to move on.

“Inevitably when a head coaching change occurs, there are many emotions to deal with, and in this situation with the bowl game, it is especially not cut and dry,” Koenning said. “I was very honored to be considered by Coach Beckman to remain at Illinois. After a great deal of prayer and discussion with my family, I feel it is best to explore other opportunities. Coach Beckman could not have been better during the process. I know the reason we had success the past two years was the players and coaches who all shared common goals and work ethic. It will be a positive for the returning players to have a new beginning with Coach Beckman and his new staff. The support of the Illini Nation has been tremendous and hopefully they will continue to support this team in San Francisco and in the future.”

Meanwhile, the school also announced Wednesday that defensive line coach Keith Gilmore will remain on staff next season in the same position.