CHAMPAIGN—After starting the 2011 season with six straight victories and being ranked, Illinois lost its final six games of the season to finish at 6-6 and the collapse has cost head coach Ron Zook his job. Zook was fired on Sunday morning. The school made it official with a release on Sunday afternoon.
“I assessed the entire program and felt that it was time for a change in leadership,” said Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas in a release.
“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. I wasn’t here seven years ago when Ron Zook took over as coach, but it’s clear the program is in better shape than what he inherited. I believe we need new leadership to take the program to the level to compete for championships on a consistent basis. This is an extremely competitive conference, and we are determined to go head-to-head with the very best.”
Current Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning has been named as the team’s interim head coach.Zook spent seven seasons with Illinois, going 34-51 in that span. The high point of his time in Champaign came in 2007 when the Illini finished the season 9-4 and went to the Rose Bowl and lost to USC. Illinois’ only other bowl appearance under Zook came last season when it beat Baylor in the Texas Bowl.