The Coaching Search: Day 7

There has been another day of articles and message board postings on the Internet about the coaching search Ron Guenther is undertaking to replace Ron Turner as Illinois' Head Football Coach. scoured the web to find you the tiniest piece of information on the coaching change, then cleaned ourselves off and created this article about what we found in the Seventh Day of the Coaching Search.

To get the latest up to date information, please continue to read the Football Fan Forum.

There were many rumors surrounding former Florida coach Ron Zook today. Here is a rundown of what has been said on the Internet:
  • An Eastern Carolina fan site is reporting that the ECU Pirate may be close to a deal with Zook, but the only sticking point is his desire to coach in the Gators' bowl game.
  • As highlighted in yesterday's coaching search update a fan on the Gator Country Forums, posted that Ron Zook turned down ECU and will be coming to Illinois.
  • Today on ESPN News it was reported that Ron Zook was in Champaign for an interview. Other rumors had Ron Guenther being in Chicago on business, not in Champaign. Was the ESPN News report correct that Ron Zook was interviewing for the Illinois job, but they got the location of the interview wrong? That is the most likely scenario. Remember, yesterday on the Inside Tennessee forums, it was reported Zook would interview with Illinois today.
  • More from the Eastern Carolina fan site on Ron Zook:
    The outgoing Florida Gators coach wants a job and ECU has an opening. A source close to Zook said he rates the Pirates atop his wish list.
  • The St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting in Wednesday's paper that Ron Zook and Ron Guenther had a meeting in Chicago on Tuesday to discuss the the head coaching position at Illinois.
    University of Illinois athletics director Ron Guenther met with Florida coach Ron Zook on Tuesday in Chicago, according to a report that will appear in Wednesday's edition of the Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.

    The Sun is reporting that sources close to Zook confirmed Tuesday that the outgoing Gators coach interviewed for the vacant Illinois job. The Illini fired Ron Turner on Nov. 22 after compiling a 35-57 record in eight seasons.
  • On ESPN 1000 this afternoon ABC Sports' Gary Danielson stated to Mac, Jurko, and Harry that he thought Ron Zook would be the next head coach at Illinois.
Based on all the information we have collected and has been reported, it appears Ron Zook is the leading candidate to be the next Illinois football coach ... as Matt Drudge would say "developing"

Update 11:00 PM: There are rumors that money might be a hangup in negotiations between Zook and Illinois and Eastern Carolina is entering the picture again for the former Florida head coach. Why would Eastern Carolina be able to pay more than Illinois?

Outside of Ron Zook, the only chattering that was heard this afternoon surrounded former Illinois Tight End and San Diego Chargers Associate Head Coach Tim Brewster. There was talk that he has already has his interview, and that he will be interviewing shortly (see below for comments from Dan Roan). Either way it looks like he is a serious candidate and will get a chance to sell himself to Ron Guenther through the interview process. Loren Tate also wrote a column today on Brewster, does a column from the wise old sage of Illinois sports mean anything? (For more on the column, look below in News Stories)

Update @ 10:00 PM: WGN TV's Dan Roan reported on their 9:00 news that Tim Brewster would be meeting with Ron Guenther some time this week.
The Palm Beach Post says that Ron Zook should not coach in Florida's bowl game because it does not benefit him at all.
But there's also the fact Zook hasn't been a good bowl coach at Florida, with an 0-2 record, and well could draw the Miami-Virginia Tech loser this time around, so who needs that? And there's a point to be made about how Zook owes himself a lot more than he owes Florida, what with future employment (Illinois? Pittsburgh? Kentucky?) something to consider. Nobody would dare call Zook selfish should he choose to leave the bowl coaching duties to an assistant while he concentrates on his next job.

The Champaign News-Gazette's Loren Tate wrote an article entitled Brewster might be good bet. This article is only available online to News Gazette Sports Facts subscribers, but here is the excerpt printed on the News Gazette web site.
Seldom do you find rival media members in agreement.

But a quick survey of six of the state's beat writers on Illini football shockingly found all in concert: Tim Brewster is "their man." Every one in this small sampling favors the San Diego Chargers assistant head coach for Ron Turner's job.
According to Message Board poster BRucks who was able to read the article pointed out that Loren Tate mentioned the fan's preference of Tim Brewster.
John Brumbaugh's Illini Board, which always pricks up its ears when recruiting is mentioned, has been pounding the drums for this proven recruiter (Brewster).
Thanks for the mention Loren, but for future reference there is no space between Illini and Board in the name IlliniBoard.

In their latest on the beat, the Chicago Tribune weighs in on the Ron Zook discussion ...
Media outlets in northern Florida reported Tuesday that recently fired Florida football coach Ron Zook is a candidate to replace Ron Turner at Illinois.

The reports also said Zook will meet with his players Wednesday to tell them whether or not he will coach Florida in the Peach Bowl on Dec. 31. Florida has not received a formal invitation to play in that bowl game, but selection committee officials said they expect to invite the Gators.

Zook did not respond to a message left at his home Tuesday.

Rumors were circulating Tuesday that Zook was in Champaign for an interview with Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther, but a family member said the report was false.

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