Southern Illinois (FCS) special teams coordinator Jared Petrino announced the difficult decision to resign from his post on Nick Hill's staff recently after a year he describes as "humbling" where his wife had battled some health issues, and the plan is to move back to Wyoming to be closer to family.
The news comes in the wake of a special season for the Southern Illinois program under Hill's leadership, as the Salukis made a run in the FCS playoffs and finished the season ranked in the top 10 nationally. The Salukis lost in the second round of the playoff to eventual runner-up South Dakota State in a tight 31-26 game.
That success and the upward trajectory of the program has made the opening with the Salukis very attractive, and sources share that Hill is set to hire an accomplished coaching veteran to step in and fill the opening on staff.
Sources tell FootballScoop that Hill is planning to hire Roc Bellantoni to step in and replace Petrino as special teams coordinator, and we understand that Bellantoni will also have a role as a defensive assistant as well.
Bellantoni spent the 2020 season as the special teams coordinator at tight ends coach at Utah State under Gary Andersen. The Aggies and Andersen parted ways after an 0-3 start to his second season and second stint leading the Aggies.
A college coaching veteran, Bellantoni spent the 2019 season as the interim defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Washington State.
Over his nearly three decades of coaching, Bellantoni has held special teams coordinator roles at Buffalo (2018) and Villanova (2012-13) and has also served as defensive coordinator at Drake (2000), Eastern Illinois (2002-11), FAU (2014-16).
Their success this past fall, and close (and sometimes controversial) finishes against some of the top teams in the FCS playoff will ensure that the Salukis will enter the fall as a team to watch, and Bellantoni will bring some great experience to the staff in place there.
Stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.