Bielema rounds out first coaching staff with SMU defensive coordinator Kevin Kane

Your Illini Nation

CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Illinois football coach Bret Bielema made a big splash to round out his first coaching staff with the Illini, hiring Southern Methodist defensive coordinator Kevin Kane to be his associate head coach and outside linebackers coach.

“It is a pleasure to name Kevin Kane as the final addition of our coaching staff at the University of Illinois,” Bielema said in a statement. “I first hired Kevin as a defensive graduate assistant and now I’ve seen his career grow, develop and flourish in the coaching profession as an assistant coach as well as a coordinator. He brings a wealth of knowledge to our staff at Illinois.  Kevin is originally from the Kansas City area and will be a great addition to our recruiting staff and in developing the young men in our program.”

Kane has spent the last three seasons leading the Mustangs defense and found success early on with the No. 1 rank for sacks per game (3.92) in 2018 and No. 3 ranking in tackles for loss (8.5 avg.) in 2019. The Kansas City, Mo. native reunites with Bielema, after getting his coaching start with him at Wisconsin from 2008-10.

“I am fired up to get back to Illinois and work with Coach B,” Kane said in a statement. “I’ve previously coached in the state of Illinois and worked for Coach B, and I know we will have success here. He has hired a great group of coaches and staff who know what it takes to recruit, coach and develop young men on and off the field. It’s a great time to be at Illinois and I’m more than excited to be a part of it.”

Kane played his college ball at Kansas but is very familiar with Illinois, coaching six seasons at Northern Illinois, including two as defensive coordinator.


Coaching Experience

2021: Illinois (Associate Head Coach/Outside Linebackers)

2018-20: SMU (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)

2017: Northern Illinois (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)

2016: Northern Illinois (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)

2015: Kansas (Linebackers)

2013-14: Northern Illinois (Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers)

2012: Northern Illinois (Linebackers)

2011: Northern Illinois (Tight Ends/Fullbacks)

2010: Wisconsin (Defensive Quality Control)

2008-09: Wisconsin (Graduate Assistant – Defense)

2006-07: Kansas (Student Assistant)

Playing Experience

2002-05: Kansas (Linebacker)


Ryan Walters: Defensive Coordinator

Tony Petersen: Offensive Coordinator

Kevin Kane: Associate Head Coach/Outside Linebackers

George McDonald: Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers

Bart Miller: Offensive Line

Andy Buh: Linebackers

Terrance Jamison: Defensive Line

Aaron Henry: Defensive Backs

Ben Miller: Tight Ends

Cory Patterson: Running Backs

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