Ron Zook Fired! Illini A.D. Addresses Media (Video)

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You look at the pic above and think “what does a celebration from the Illinois Fighting Illini 2004-05 college basketball season have to do with this?” The long overdue firing of the school’s college football coach Ron Zook.

Well, when I searched for google images of “Illini celebration,” it was all hoops images. (which says something about why the Zooker is being jettisoned. And, I needed an orange and blue celebration pic for a news like this.

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Which Illini Coordinator Gets Ron Zook’s (Interim) Job?

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In 2009, a very underachieving Illini football team finished 3-9. Picked as high as third by some Big Ten and college football pundits, the horrible record was nothing short of a catastrophe for the resume of Ron Zook and the Illinois program.

Or so I thought.

Logic dictated then Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther can Zook then and there. Unfortunately, Guenther had FOOLISHLY given Zook a big, expensive contract extension before that season, and buying him out would have been just about financially impossible.

So what did Guenther/Illinois do? They doubled down on a losing hand. Sort of.

They brought in two flashy, expensive coordinators to take as much responsibility off of Zook’s plate as possible. Vic Koenning for the defense, Paul Petrino for the offense.

So which one gets the gig now?

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5 Biggest Reasons Illinois Should Fire Ron Zook Next Sunday

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The main story surrounding the Illinois Fighting Illini losing 28-17 to the Wisconsin Badgers today is the fact that Illini Head Coach Ron Zook is a “dead man walking.”

New Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas said he won’t make a decision until after the season is over, so I wouldn’t expect to hear anything concrete until after the season’s final game- next Saturday at the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Sure, there might be a bowl game, but the axe could fall on Zook’s head a week from Sunday.

The Illini blew a 10-point second half lead to Wisconsin, as the Badgers had TD drives of 2, 30, 44, and 39 yards. No, that’s not a typo, it’s an indication of how POOR the Illini special teams are. And how their offense keeps turning it over, but that’s another story for another time.

For now, I’ll list (in no particular order) the top 5 fireable qualities in Ron Zook WITHOUT mentioning his 34-50, 18-37 in the Big Ten record while at Illinois. That’s obviously reason #1; the W-L record speaks for itself.

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Ron Zook Delivers Jim Mora Style Mini-Rant (Video)

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Last week the Illini football team imploded and lost at home to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, one of the worst teams in recent Big Ten football history.

Words can’t really express a college football let-down of this proportion, although we tried to do so here.

Now a really promising 5-3 team that many pundits believed would finish 8-4 or even 9-3 doesn’t even look like a bowl team. Yes, they could very easily not get that critical sixth win to earn a postseason game and 15 extra practices.

A question from a reporter about the “b word” prompted Illini Head Coach Ron Zook to deliver this Jim Moraesque “PLAYOFFS???!!! YOU’RE TALKING PLAYOFFS?!” rant.

Thanks to The Last Angry Fan for the photo.

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Ron Zook Attacked by Florida Gator Thugs

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By Paul M. Banks

You would think that when a coach is leading a program that is the pre-eminent power in all of college football, said coach would possess a sense of humility and sportsmanship. You would think that when you’re coaching the reigning national champions, with a quarterback deemed sacrosanct and above criticism by the national media, you would be content, satisfied and have better things to do that fire insults at the leader of a mediocre college football program.

However, Florida Gators head man Urban Meyer is obviously none of these things- but he did become a strong candidate for my 2010 douchebracket when he went out of his way to viciously slander Illinois head football coach Ron Zook, his predecessor at the University of Florida.


I’ll let ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg break it down

“Meyer’s response came after The Orlando Sentinel’s Jeremy Fowler asked him how he treats fighting between players after an alleged incident at Miami that left Hurricanes defensive end Adewale Ojomo with a broken jaw.urban_meyer_poster2

The question had no mention of Zook or the previous regime, but Meyer, who never mentioned Zook by name, launched into this attack.

“When we first got here five years ago they had freshmen in a separate locker room and it was a bunch of tin lockers over there and they weren’t allowed to walk [into the regular locker room],” Meyer told reporters Friday. “Think about this for a minute: this is a big-time college football program and we had some fights because they treat their freshman like they were non-people.

“‘Don’t walk through here, we’ll kick your tail, we’ll shave your eyebrows.’ It took us awhile to break that great culture we had here. That was tremendous. You don’t win many games, but you beat up freshman and shave eyebrows. Absolutely unbelievable.”

Oh, wait, there’s more.

“It’s called a team, not some silly nonsense. That was five years ago, let’s go beat up freshmen. Let’s get our brains kicked in against our rival, but let’s go beat up a freshman.”

The first rule of show-business (and college football is obviously show-business, why else would the NCAA sellout control of their postseason to corporate sponsors) you never use your bit to attack the guy who does bigger numbers than you. That’s why MSNBC’s Keith Olberman devotes so much of his show to trashing Bill O’Reilly, his ratings are lower than O’Reilly’s. (But to be fair the combined IQ of O’Reilly’s collective audience is likely less than a random sampling of 100 Olberman viewers) It’s why I never attacked that Miller Park Drunk.com douchenozzle, but he slammed me. His web traffic is light years behind mine. So why did Meyer go out of his way to slam Zook, who is five years removed from the The Swamp? “Have you no decency, sir?”

Seriously, the Zooker may have his faults, but at least he knows how to take the high road, when the massive tool that is Urban Meyer probably couldn’t even find it with a Garmin.

Again quoting Rittenberg’s piece, this is what Zook had to say

“I was surprised to see that, once again, five years later, we’re blamed for something else at Florida. But by now I guess I shouldn’t be. This one was most disappointing because it implies we didn’t look out for our players. From someone who wasn’t there at the time. I can assure you I’ve never, ever been accused of that. I thought I was too much of a players’ coach.”

Just in case you don’t hate Florida (the over-hyped, over-exposed like North Carolina in basketball program of college football) enough yet, Meyer is doing his best to give you some rationale.