Mike Mallory Named Illinois' Defensive Coordinator

Ron Turner has named the replacement to Mike Cassity as Illinois' Defensive Coordinator. The name is a familiar one to Illinois fans, as Coach Turner has elected to promote from within for the defensive coordinator position as he named Illinois Linebackers coach Mike Mallory as the Defensive Coordinator. <br><br> Coach Turner also rounded out his defensive staff by naming Northern Illinois Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer as Illinois' new Secondary Coach.

CHAMPAIGN, IL - University of Illinois head football coach Ron Turner announced today that he will promote from within the current coaching staff as he named linebackers coach Mike Mallory to the vacant defensive coordinator position. He also has added Northern Illinois defensive coordinator Scott Shafer to the staff to serve as secondary coach for the Illini.

"I feel very confident in Mike Mallory's ability to run this defense." Turner said. "He has impressed me in the three years he has been on staff, and his style fits my philosophy. I know that the current players and coaching staff have the utmost respect for Mike, and that is very critical to a team's success. His energy and enthusiasm is contagious to everyone he coaches."

"I also look forward to working with Scott Shafer," Turner added. "He has worked closely with both Mallory and Dan Roushar (Illinois running backs coach) on many occasions, and I feel confident that his transition to the staff will be a smooth and welcome one. He comes in with outstanding credentials and has had great success with his secondary units over the past decade of coaching. I was very impressed with the way Northern Illinois played us (Illinois) defensively in 2001 and have been following his career ever since."

Mallory just completed his third year as part of the Illini coaching staff, serving as both safeties and linebackers coach during that time. Taking on the role of defensive coordinator will not be new to Mallory after a four-year stint in that role at Northern Illinois (1996-99) and three seasons at Rhode Island (1993-95).

In his first season at Illinois, he tutored a pair of safeties, Bobby Jackson and Muhammad Abdullah, to All-Big Ten honors during the Illini's Big Ten Championship season. With his move to linebackers this season, the duo of Matt Sinclair and Winston Taylor flourished with both ranking in the Big Ten's Top-10 total tackle list.

Mallory is a 1985 graduate of Michigan where he was an All-America linebacker and 1985 Butkus Award finalist. He helped lead his Wolverines to four bowl games, including the 1983 Rose Bowl. During his coaching career, Mallory has enjoyed stints as an assistant at Kent State, Eastern Illinois and Maryland.

"I am very excited about this opportunity," Mallory said. "I am anxious about the guys returning to campus and getting this (defense) turned around. We feel we have very capable players on this team, and we need to get back to playing fast, hard, physical football."

Shafer heads to Illinois after eight years with the Northern Illinois Huskies, the last four seasons as defensive coordinator. During his time as the NIU coordinator, the Huskies tallied a record of 30-16, including the school's first 10-win season since 1983 this year. His defense led the Mid-American Conference in interceptions with 23 and was in the Top-3 in takeaways, scoring defense, rush defense and pass efficiency defense. NIU won a share of the MAC-West Conference title in both 2001 and 2002 and during the 2002 season, the defense was atop the conference rankings in interceptions, takeaways, scoring defense, run defense and sacks. Since arriving at NIU, Shafer produced eight All-MAC performers in the secondary.

He worked under Mallory during his time at NIU, taking over the coordinator position after Mallory left for Maryland in 2000. The two also were together at Rhode Island for three seasons. Shafer is a 1990 graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College and was the team's MVP in 1987 playing quarterback. Shafer and his wife Missy have two children, a son, Wolfgang, 9, and a daughter, Elsa, 5.

"It was very difficult to leave Northern Illinois because of the accomplishments over the past couple of years and the bonds we had built here," Shafer said. "However, I am very excited about the opportunity to work for Ron Turner, and to coach in the Big Ten has been a focus and goal of mine since I started my career. I am excited to be a part of the Illini family as we work our way back up toward the championship level."

2003: University of Illinois (linebackers coach)
2001-02: University of Illinois (secondary/safeties coach)
1996-99: Northern Illinois (defensive coordinator)
1993-95: Rhode Island (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
1991-92: Eastern Illinois (linebackers)
1988-90: Kent State (linebackers/defensive line)
1986-87: Indiana University (graduate assistant)

2000-03: Northern Illinois (defensive coordinator/secondary)
1996-99: Northern Illinois (secondary coach)
1993-95: Rhode Island (secondary coach)
1991-92: Indiana University (graduate assistant)

Story courtesy the University of Illinois

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