The Coaching Search: Day 10

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 latest update on the Coaching Search.

  • WGN TV's Dan Roan reported that Tim Brewster will be interviewed for the Illinois Head Coaching job on Saturday on the Thursday evening WGN TV news.
  • The Chicago Sun Times is reporting that Ron Zook will be offerred the Illinois Head Coaching position and he is expected to accept that offer.
    Ousted Florida head coach Ron Zook is expected to be named Illinois' new football coach Monday in Champaign.

    Zook has not yet been offered the job of rebuilding the Illini, but he is awaiting that offer eagerly, a source close to Zook said.

    Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther is expected to extend that offer this weekend, and Zook is expected to accept it.

    A report in today's Gainesville Sun that Zook has taken the job appears to be premature but on the mark.

    Zook made a quick exit from Florida's team banquet Friday without commenting on the Illinois situation.

    Nor did he comment on his interest in coaching the Gators in the Peach Bowl. However, a source close to Zook said he will abandon any plan to coach the bowl game if that's what Guenther wants.
  • The State Journal Register, Decatur Herald & Review, Bloomington Panatagraph, (Copley News Services), and the St. Louis Post Dispatch have all reported that Ron Zook has accepted the Illinois job.
Brumby's opinion: The interesting thing about all of the rumors surrounding the Illinois Head Coaching position is that none of them are coming from the Champaign area, they are all coming from Florida. Every one that has followed a Ron Guenther coaching search knows the leaks never come from Champaign. The lack of a true leak from Champaign makes me wary that everything being reported as fact will end up being fact. I would bet there is more to the story than the press, and thus, us fans know. I don't know who Ron Guenther is interviewing, or who he has decided, but for some reason I just can't take the conventional wisdom as Gospel in a Ron Guenther coaching search, he has fooled me too many times in the past.

For the latest on the coaching search and rumors from's Midwest Recruiting Expert, Chris Pool, visit the Premium Fan Forum.
Will Ron Zook coach in the Peach Bowl? That is what the St. Louis Post Dispatch is reporting Zook has told his players through a Miami Herald report.
Rumors could not be confirmed Friday that Zook's desire to coach Florida in the Peach Bowl and thereby delay his arrival in Champaign had caused a snag in his negotiations with Illinois.

A report in the Miami Herald on Friday said that Zook met with his Florida players Wednesday and told the team he plans to coach in the Peach Bowl. But that would come at a heavy cost to Illinois, which canceled December's first weekend of recruiting visits and would lose even more valuable time if Zook waited until January to begin his new duties. A source in Florida said Friday that if Zook had agreed to become the next Illini coach, he would not coach the Gators in their bowl game.
The Peoria Journal Star is citing sources in Gainesville discrediting that report.
Illinois athletics director Ron Guenther interviewed Zook, 50, earlier this week. Zook became the front runner to replace Ron Turner and become the 22nd coach at Illinois.

Guenther wanted a coach in place to salvage what's left of the recruiting season. Zook, a former defensive coordinator, is considered a strong recruiter. Two recruiting weekends still remain this month before a busy January and signing day in early February.

A source in Gainesville discredited a Miami Herald report that Zook wanted to remain at Florida to coach the Gators in the Peach Bowl.

Here is the original report from the Miami Herald stating Ron Zook will coach Florida in the Peach Bowl.
It appears the University of Florida might have UF coach Ron Zook around a bit longer.

According to a source, Zook met with his players Wednesday and told them he plans on coaching in the Peach Bowl. Zook, who was fired Oct. 25 but remained for the final four regular-season games, was told last month that it was his decision on whether to coach the Gators in a bowl game.

There could be a problem with Zook's plans. According to a source in Illinois, Zook is close to becoming the coach for the Fighting Illini, and it is unclear if he takes that job if he would be allowed to stay and coach the Gators. is reporting that Ron Zook is atop the list to be Illinois' next head coach, , and that he will not be on the sidelines for the Gators in the Peach Bowl.
Zook, who was told by Florida in October that he would be fired at the end of this season, is expected to be offered the Illinois head coaching job, The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun reported.

The newspaper said Zook moved to the top of the Illini's wish list after interviewing earlier this week with university officials in Chicago.

The Sun reported that Ole Miss also has approached Zook, but the Rebels are believed to prefer Louisville's Bobby Petrino.

Zook still has not decided whether to coach the Gators in the Peach Bowl, according to the Sun, though there has been strong speculation that he won't be on the Florida sidelines for the Dec. 31 game.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports ESPN is reporting both on its website and on the ESPN Bottom Line, seen during the Illinois @ Arkansas game that Ron Zook will be offerred the Illinois job on Monday. In an interesting twist, they also say he will interview with Ole Miss on Monday about their head coaching vacancy.
Ron Zook's job search could end Monday -- when Illinois is expected to offer him its head football coaching job -- according to The Gainesville (Fla.) Sun.

Zook, who was recently fired by Florida, reportedly moved to the top of the Illini's wish list after interviewing earlier this week with university officials in Chicago.

Ole Miss also has approached Zook, but the Rebels are believed to prefer Louisville's Bobby Petrino. Zook is still expected to interview with Mississippi on Monday.

The Daily Illini through is providing quotes from a Florida offensive line coach, Joe Wickline.
When Guenther interviewed Zook on Tuesday, both men had a similar take on where Illinois football is headed, said Florida offensive line coach Joe Wickline.

"They talked about where (to take) the direction of the program from here," Wickline said. "Their views were very much alike about the program."

Zook was "very energetic" about Illinois football after his meeting with Guenther, Wickline said.


Guenther also reiterated to Zook he wants to have a coach named as soon as possible.

"(Zook) did comment that they wanted to move quick," Wickline said.

In Bob Sakamoto's latest article in the Chicago Tribune, Jeff Christensen is downplaying a previous report from the Chicago Tribune.
Jeff Christensen, father of Iowa-bound All-State quarterback Jake Christensen of Lockport downplayed a report out of Champaign last week that he could become a recruiting coordinator for Illinois if Tim Brewster is hired as the Illini's head football coach. Christensen, a backup quarterback for seven years in the NFL, was Brewster's roommate with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1985.

"Tim and I talked recently when his name surfaced as a candidate for the job," Christensen said of his friend who is currently the assistant head coach of the San Diego Chargers. "We got caught up on everything and talked about our families. I told him of my desire to get into coaching and recruiting, and Tim encouraged me in that endeavor. We never talked specifically about anything with Illinois."

Illini Inquirer Top Stories