USA Today // Mark J. Rebilas

Illini hire Ligashesky as special teams coach

Illini tab Houston Texans assistant coach as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach

Illinois special teams has been inconsistent for many years. New Illini coach Lovie Smith, who always prioritized special teams during his NFL coaching career, hopes he found the cure for the issues.

Smith on Wednesday announced NFL special teams coach Bob Ligashesky as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Ligashesky spent the previous two seasons as the Houston Texans special teams coordinator but was fired in January after the Texans special teams ranked last in the NFL, according to

Ligashesky has worked in the NFL for the past 12 years and has 19 years of collegiate experience.

“Bob Ligashesky has been one of the outstanding special teams coaches in the nation for many years,” Smith said in a statement. “He brings in an incredible amount of experience at both the collegiate and professional levels, and earned a reputation as a terrific recruiter when he was at Bowling Green and Pittsburgh prior to his career in the NFL.”

Smith has filled eight of his nine assistant spots. He likely will hire a running backs coach.

Lovie Smith's reported staff

Head coach: Lovie Smith

Offensive coordinator/QBs coach: Garrick McGee (official)

Defensive coordinator: Hardy Nickerson (official)

WRs coach: Andrew Hayes-Stoker (official)

OL coach: Luke Butkus (official)

DL coach: Mike Phair (official)

LB coach: Tim McGarigle (official)

DBs coach: Paul Williams (official)

Special teams coordinator/TEs coach: Bob Ligashesky (official)

Ligashesky's Coaching History
1985 – Wake Forest, graduate assistant
1986-88 – Arizona State, graduate assistant
1989-90 – Kent State, outside linebackers/special teams coach
1991-98 – Bowling Green, linebackers/special teams coach
1999 – Bowling Green, assistant head coach/linebackers/special teams
2000-03 – Pittsburgh, tight ends/special teams coordinator
2004 – Jacksonville Jaguars, assistant special teams coach
2005-06 – St. Louis Rams, special teams coach
2007-09 – Pittsburgh Steelers, special teams coach
2010 – Denver Broncos, tight ends
2011 – Oakland Raiders, special teams assistant
2012 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers, special teams coordinator
2013 – Houston Texans, interim special teams coordinator/special teams assistant
2014-15 – Houston Texans, special teams coordinator
2016 – Illinois, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach

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