WCIA — In the midst of saying goodbye to two of the stalwarts of the Illini defense on Saturday, Illinois head coach Bret Bielema confirmed defensive backs coach Aaron Henry is being promoted to defensive coordinator.

Henry played for Bielema at Wisconsin, and was a graduate assistant for two years on his staff at Arkansas. With two years under his belt in Champaign, Henry had a big hand in helping develop Devon Witherspoon, who opted out of the ReliaQuest Bowl with Sydney Brown to get ready for their pro careers.

“I looked at him and I said, ‘Are you ready?’ He’s like, ‘Coach we don’t have to leave for an hour and a half.’ I was like, ‘No. That’s not what I’m talking about,'” Bielema said of telling Henry the news. “‘Are you ready to do this? It’s official, Ryan [Walters] is going to take the Purdue job and I’d like to have you take over as a coordinator and move our program in a direction it’s going but also where it can go.’ His response was absolutely awesome.”

Bielema also confirmed outside linebackers coach Kevin Kane is leaving Illinois to follow Walters to Purdue.