Greg Colby

D-II head coach officially tapped for Illini for DL job


Following up on reports that surfaced over the weekend, Illinois has officially announced the addition of an assistant on the defensive side of the ball.

In a press release, the Illini confirmed that Greg Colby has been hired as Tim Beckman‘s defensive line coach.  Colby will replace Keith Gilmore, who left for the same job at North Carolina a week ago.

The move is a homecoming for Colby, who played football and baseball for the Illini in the early-seventies, and served as assistant with the football program from 1988-95.

“Greg Colby brings a wealth of coaching experience and Fighting Illini historical football knowledge to our staff,” Beckman said in a statement. “Greg grew up in Danville, was a great student-athlete at Illinois, was on the coaching staff here for eight years, and has worked at several different successful programs since.  He has built some outstanding relationships with his extensive recruiting experience in the Chicagoland area.

“Greg understands what it means to be a Fighting Illini football player and what it takes to be successful here. I have no doubt our players will respond very positively to him as a coach and as a person.”

The past five years, Colby was the head football coach at Div. II Millersville (Pa.) University.

Additionally, Colby has extensive ties to the Big Ten outside of his alma mater.  He spent two separate stints at Michigan State (1986-88, 1995-97) as well as six seasons (2002-07) as the defensive coordinator at Northwestern.

“I’m thrilled at the opportunity to come back,” Colby said. “When I left and went to Michigan State in 1995, it was the intention to improve my coaching skills and come back here at some point in time, possibly finish my career here, and it has worked out. I’m going to do everything I can to help Coach Beckman take this program back to where it belongs, and in the short time I’ve been back on campus, I’m very confident that’s going to happen.”

(Photo credit: Millersville University)

Mark Dantonio quickly tosses aside South Carolina discussion

Mark Dantonio

Michigan State has become a national power under the coaching of Mark Dantonio. The grizzled and confident coach has put together a master plan in East Lansing and has taken the Spartans to the top of the Big Ten along the way, capturing a Big Ten title and victories in the Cotton Bowl and Rose Bowl as well as in-state dominance over the Michigan Wolverines. Danotnio is preparing his Spartans to take on the Wolverines this week, but with the new vacancy opening up at South Carolina following the sudden retirement of Steve Spurrier, Dantonio has already been presented with the question about his thoughts on coaching at South Carolina.

He did not seem all that interested in discussing the vacancy when meeting with Michigan State media this morning.

“Coach Spurrier’s had an outstanding career there, it’s alma mater, and we’re here to talk about Michigan,” Dantonio said when asked about it today. Video below from the Big Ten Network

Dantonio played defensive back for the Gamecocks in the mid 1970s, which helps make Dantonio an interesting name to mention in any coaching future discussion out of Columbia. While Dantonio may have played at South Carolina for Jim Carlen, Dantonio grew up in Ohio and has coached the bulk of his career within Ohio and the Big Ten. He is also one win away from picking up his 100th career coaching victory, 81 of which have come at Michigan State.

Dan Patrick: Spurrier brought personality to the SEC

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South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is stepping down as head coach of the Gamecocks, and that has the college football world reflecting on the impact he has had on the game of college football. Spurrier’s quips at rivals and revolutionary thoughts on where the sport has been heading were always on the mark, even when his team’s performance on the field was not.

Dan Patrick shared his reaction to the news of Spurrier retiring today on The Dan Patrick Show (simulcast on NBC Sports Network). As many have already suggested, Spurrier’s wit and charm brought a refreshing personality to the SEC.