Finally, the University of Illinois has decided to fire their football head coach Ron Zook. Illinois began the season 6-0 and was ranked in the AP Top 25. After Saturday’s embarrassing loss to Minnesota, Illinois had no choice but to let the coach go following their sixth consecutive loss to finish the 2011 season 6-6.
Ron Zook’s career record for Illinois in seven years was 34-51, including one Rose Bowl appearance. For all the talent that Zook recruited to Illinois, thanks in large part to his Florida ties, it is criminal that he couldn’t win more games in Champaign.
I have always believed that Zook is the worst head coach in Division 1 football. If you have ever had the obligation to watch him in action, you know what I am talking about. If we are strictly talking about coaching, Zook was awful. Give a majority of the D-1 coaches in our country the talent Zook had on his teams and see how successful those other coaches would be. Oh yea, we already saw that when Zook left his Florida team to Urban Meyer….Championship! The very next season in fact.
As far as a recruiter goes, Zook is one of the best in the business. He will receive another job because of his talent evaluation skills and his ability to get top prospects to commit to his program. Getting the top-tier talent is usually the hard part. Once a program gets their guy, coaching that player to stardom is much easier. Zook always had a way of flipping the script on this process. I still don’t understand how he gets recruits to commit to his program. He must promise these kids mediocre college careers.
This firing was a long time coming for the Illini. Illinois is currently sitting at 6-6 after winning their first six games of the season, before losing their next six straight. It will be interesting to see who Illinois goes after to fill the vacancy. However, Illinois has not had to look for a head coach in nearly eight years so the process will be lengthy I believe. Either way, no matter who they hire…he is already a better coach than Ron Zook.