CHICAGO (CBS) — After five seasons, University of Illinois football Head Coach Lovie Smith has been relieved of his duties, Director of Athletics Josh Whitman announced Sunday.
In a tweet, the program announced that Smith will not coach during the final game of the season.
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— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) December 13, 2020
“Lovie Smith led the Illinois football program with unquestioned integrity during his nearly five years of service,” said Whitman. “His unshakeable leadership, never more needed than during this pandemic, will be forever remembered. Nonetheless, based on extensive evaluation of the program’s current state and future outlook, I have concluded the program is not progressing at the rate we should expect at this advanced stage in Coach Smith’s tenure.”
Smith has a 17-39 overall record and a 10-33 record in the Big Ten. The Fighting Illini’s best finish under Smith was fourth place in the Big Ten West Division in 2019.READ MORE: With Temperatures Falling To Dangerous Lows, Cook County Doctor Provides Tips On How To Stay Safe
Smith came to Illinois in 2016. He spent 11 seasons as an NFL head coach, including nine seasons with the Chicago Bears. In those 11 seasons, Smith’s had a record of 89-87, ending with a Super Bowl XLI appearance following the 2006 season. Smith and Tony Dungy became the first two African American head coach to coach in the Super Bowl that year.
The program is beginning an immediate search for a replacement.
Offensive Coordinator Rod Smith will conclude the season as the acting head coach.MORE NEWS: After Months Of Finger-Pointing Over Violent Crime, Mayor Lori Lightfoot And Supt. David Brown Come Together With State's Attorney Kim Foxx Over 8-Year-Old Melissa Ortega's Murder
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