Illinois fires coach Lovie Smith after 5 seasons
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – Illinois fired coach Lovie Smith on Sunday with a game left in its ninth consecutive losing season. Smith became Illinois' first Black head football coach when he was hired by athletic director Josh Whitman in March 2016. The longtime NFL coach went 17-39 in five seasons at the school. Smith’s original deal was for six years and $21 million, but he received a two-year extension through 2023 after Illinois went 4-8 in his third season. The slide continued into this year, with Illinois losing its first three by a combined 117-45 score.