Fans, media react to Illinois hiring Bret Bielema as head coach
Bret Bielema is back in the B1G with the former Wisconsin head coach taking the job at Illinois to replace Lovie Smith. In the official release, Illinois revealed Bielema will have a six-year contract with a $4.2 million salary.
Needless to say, the decision by the Illini is drawing some mixed reviews around the college football world.
Some remember a Bielema-led Wisconsin program that won 68 games and captured three B1G titles. The Badgers were perennial contenders under Bielema in seven seasons.
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Others remember a Bielema-led Arkansas team that was underwhelming during his time leading the Razorbacks. Along with that, Bielema went 0-2 in the Rose Bowl games he coached and left the B1G to try and make his mark in the SEC.
Here’s how fans and media around the college football world reacted to the news on Saturday:
— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) December 19, 2020
Big hire for the #Illinois. Bielema, an Illinois native, who played at #Iowa and led #Wisconsin to three Big Ten titles, is a great fit in the Big Ten & will make things a lot more fun. He's a big, engaging presence who led the Badgers to three Top 10 finishes in seven years.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 19, 2020
1. Bret Bowl 1 is Oct. 23.
2. Bret's going to Ireland. https://t.co/eCKoMmo7Ib
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) December 19, 2020
And there it is. Back in the Big Ten. https://t.co/Ae3LVZ96Ay
— Tom Dienhart (@TomDienhart1) December 19, 2020
Love this move. People speculated that Josh wouldn’t hire such a bold personality. Glad he did. Bret’s a great coach and a helluva good time. https://t.co/vH7SFlwSr7
— Teddy Greenstein (@TeddyGreenstein) December 19, 2020
Bert returns to the Big Ten nine years after leaving Wisconsin in the night because he couldn’t handle Urban Meyer’s high intensity recruiting. https://t.co/LewZQD6ckk
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) December 19, 2020
So parents can’t come but there’s room for Bert. https://t.co/Cd3nXLvfbL
— Donnie Collins (@PennStateTT) December 19, 2020
— Four Seasons Total EC Landslide (@rjygraham) December 19, 2020
After all of Brets negativity towards the B1G, good to see he will now be the B1Gs doormat.
— Vic Vinegar (@VicVinegarNerds) December 19, 2020
I can't wait for all the fresh Bielema memes
— Budwin Von Love (@BudwinVonLove) December 19, 2020
I'm optimistic! Anyone is better than Lovie, and he expanded Wisconsin's success and went to 3 straight Rose Bowls!
— Tom K (@Mossimo142) December 19, 2020
a six year contract is interesting, makes me wonder who you will hire in 2024 to replace him
— Scott H Anderson (@shandersonfilm) December 19, 2020
This does not make me jump up and down
— Melissa Holder (@MBHolder21) December 19, 2020
Hey look everyone, Bret “I’ve always aspired to coach in the SEC” Bielema crawled back to the Big Ten with his tail between his legs
— DB5k09 (@DB5k09) December 19, 2020
Might as well put "start your new coaching search" on your calendar in Nov 2023 now, so that way you might have a better chance finding a quality hire. How does a mediocre coach get rehired to a league he trashed? Must be a hella good interview. Welcome back bert.
— Dan Oltman (@DentonDanO) December 19, 2020
This is just awful. What a way to ruin a Saturday
— Gary Hrvol (@GHrvol) December 19, 2020
Can’t believe this terrible decision. Back to basketball 🏀.
— Paul V (@PaulVan31) December 19, 2020
Time will tell how this hiring works out in Champaign. For now, Bielema is set to be on hand for Saturday’s game against Penn State and will begin his duties immediately.