Lovie Smith will not be returning as Illinois’ head coach, according to Sports Illustrated‘s Pat Forde.
Illinois hired Smith ahead of the 2016 season, giving the veteran NFL head coach a six-year contract and his first collegiate head-coaching job. However, Smith failed to put together a winning season with the program, going just 17–39 throughout his five seasons in Champaign. Illinois also made just a single postseason appearance throughout Smith’s tenure, falling last year in the Redbox Bowl.
A 28–10 loss to Northwestern on Saturday dropped this year’s team to 2–5 on the year.
Prior to his time with Illinois, Smith, 62, had been the head coach of the Chicago Bears from 2004–12, leading the franchise to Super Bowl XLI and three division titles. Between 2014–15, Smith was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Illinois will enter next year’s college football season looking for its first winning record since 2011.