CHICAGO, Ill. (WCIA) — Josh Whitman hired Lovie Smith three years, four months, and 20 days ago. The wins haven’t been there, but Whitman is still seeing progress in the program and the coach.
Smith is just 9-27 in his three seasons as head coach, but the talent of the roster is improving by the year. Illinois is the first college coaching job Smith has held since 1995 when he was with Ohio State, and Whitman said it takes some adjusting going from the NFL to college.
“I think that’s true for anybody. You hope that anybody over the course of three plus years is going to continue to grow and develop,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said. “Something I have tremendous respect for with Lovie is he’s somebody who obviously has achieved at the highest level, and for him to come to Champaign and continue to be interested in self-improvement, growth, development.. it’s a testament to who he is as a professional, as a person and I think ultimately it’s going to be to the benefit of Illinois athletics and Illinois football.”
The Illini open training camp Friday morning.