The good news for Illinois coach Ron Zook is that he won’t have to answer any more questions about his job; the bad news is that it’s because he’s been fired.
The Champaign News-Gazette reports that Zook was fired this morning following the Illini’s 27-7 loss to Minnesota yesterday. The school later confirmed the report.
Yesterday’s loss marked the end of a stunning collapse for Illinois, who started the season 6-0 but lost their final six games to end the season at 6-6. Although bowl eligible, the Big Ten’s bowl selection process doesn’t guarantee the Illini will make a bowl. If nothing else, no Big Ten team has degenerated so quickly over the second half of the season as Illinois, which can be used against them when bowls make their selection.
The school has released the following statement from AD Mike Thomas:
“I assessed the entire program and felt that it was time for a change in leadership. It is imperative that our program shows some consistency and competes for championships, and I think a change in coaches can help us get there sooner.”
Thomas added that Zook will receive $1.3 million for the next two years as part of his buyout. Vic Koenning will fill in as interim head coach. Zook is 34-50 overall in seven seasons at Illinois.