CHAMPAIGN — Lovie Smith has been relieved of his duties as Illinois soccer coach after 5 seasons.
Illini athletics launched an announcement late Sunday morning that indicated “Smith won’t coach the Illini throughout (their) closing recreation of the season.”
The information follows Saturday’s 28-10 loss at No. 15 Northwestern that dropped Illinois to 2-5 on the season. It was first reported by Howard Griffith, a Huge Ten Community analyst and former Illini, in addition to ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg.
“Lovie Smith led the Illinois soccer program with unquestioned integrity throughout his practically 5 years of service,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman mentioned within the assertion. “I’ve large respect for Coach Smith and can at all times be grateful to him for offering a gentle, skilled hand at a time when our program required stability. His unshakeable management, by no means extra wanted than throughout this pandemic, will likely be ceaselessly remembered.
“Nonetheless, primarily based on in depth analysis of this system’s present state and future outlook, I’ve concluded this system is just not progressing on the price we should always anticipate at this superior stage in Coach Smith’s tenure. “To attain our aggressive targets, I imagine new management of the soccer program is required. I’ll at all times look fondly on the time Lovie and I’ve spent collectively. I want him and (his spouse) MaryAnne nothing however the perfect.”
Offensive coordinator Rod Smith will coach the Illini throughout its to-be-announced Huge Ten Champions Week recreation subsequent week.
In keeping with the assertion, Illinois athletics “starting instantly … will launch a nationwide search to establish Coach (Lovie) Smith’s successor.”
Lovie Smith was employed by Whitman previous to the 2016 season and guided the Illini to the 2019 Redbox Bowl, which Illinois misplaced to California. That was this system’s first bowl look since 2014.
Nevertheless, Smith’s tenure included 5 general shedding seasons and a cumulative 17-39 file. It is not clear if Illinois will play in a Huge Ten Champions Week recreation this coming weekend and who would lead the crew into that contest.
Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman needed to make the transfer
Illini lose sixth straight to Northwestern
Smith in 2016 was given a six-year contract value $21 million. He is due $5 million for the 2021 marketing campaign.
Illinois soccer hasn’t posted a successful file since 2011, a season wherein Ron Zook was fired and Vic Koenning coached the Illini within the Kraft Battle Starvation Bowl. Tim Beckman, Invoice Cubit and now Smith have been unable to show that tide.
Whitman will likely be hiring his second soccer coach since taking on as Illinois’ AD in February 2016. Whitman fired Cubit on March 5 of that 12 months and employed Smith two days later.
Whitman is slated to deal with media at three p.m. Sunday, in response to the assertion.
Colin Likas is the preps coordinator at The Information-Gazette. He could be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @clikasNG.