CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Sean Snyder and Bret Bielema go way back. The two were teammates at Iowa in the late 80’s, then worked together at Kansas State from 2002-03, with Sean as a Senior Associate Athletic Director at the school his Hall of Fame father Bill won 215 games at. During that time in Manhattan, Bielema was the Wildcats’ co-defensive coordinator. Sean Snyder went on to coach at Kansas State from 2011-19, before going to USC for the past two seasons.

Now he’s back on the same team as Bielema, serving as the fill-in special teams coordinator and specialists coach, as Ben Miller continues to undergo cancer treatments, forcing him to miss the 2022 season.

“I’ve always admired the stuff that he does and how he does it,” Snyder said about Bielema. “His experiences have been really, really good for him and for me, it’s an opportunity to come learn. I know and hope Ben (Miller) is back and he’s back in the saddle and if I come out of this thing learning and gaining something for myself, I’m in great shape.”

Illinois is fielding all new specialists this season, with first year full-time starters at kicker, punter, snapper and holder after Blake Hayes, James McCourt and Ethan Tabel all graduated.