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Former NFL coach Lovie Smith is hired by Illinois

Former NFL coach Lovie Smith is hired by Illinois

Former NFL coach Lovie Smith was hired as the Illinois football coach Monday, two days after the firing of Bill Cubit following a 5-7 season.

The move came after Athletic Director Josh Whitman, in his first official day on the job, fired Cubit after a single season in Champaign. He turned to Smith, who took the Chicago Bears to the 2007 Super Bowl and was dismissed as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January.

This is the first college head-coaching job for the 58-year-old Smith and his first job in college football since leaving Ohio State in 1995. He faces a daunting task: Illinois has had six losing seasons in the past...

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