Yesterday the new athletic director at Illinois (Mike Thomas who came over from Cincinnati a few months ago), announced that Ron Zook would not return as head coach.
Just a couple of quick thoughts on this job. First, Illinois has the assets and the support within the university to win. The University has consistently invested in facilities (new weight room, good enough indoor practice facility, etc...). They have all of the standard amenities one would expect at a Big Ten program.
No doubt that the next head coach will need to have great recruiting capabilities in order to win consistently; but that shouldn't be a problem at Illinois.
In short, this should be considered a great job and we have no doubt (see our incoming texts) that a there will be significant interest in the job.
In his presser yesterday, athletic director Mike Thomas said he largely would lead the search and that he didn't anticipate relying on an outside firm. Thomas stated at the presser that he plans to use the Greg Byrne approach (i.e. "you won't hear from me again about this search until I announce the new coach").
It's early; but names being talked about by guys we believe are informed include Brent Venables, Butch Jones, Mark Stoops, Paul Chryst and plenty of others. We'll keep you posted.