Illinois assistant coach resigns less than three weeks before first game
Illinois has lost an assistant coach at a less than ideal time.
Cornerbacks coach Donnie Abraham has resigned from the staff. In a statement released as part of the official announcement Tuesday, he cites a desire to be in Florida for his son’s senior year of high school.
“I want to thank the University of Illinois, Josh Whitman, the athletic department and Coach Smith for opening the door and giving me an opportunity to coach in the Big Ten,” Abraham said. “I will greatly miss the players, coaches and staff that I have had the privilege of working with this past year and a half. I know great things are on the horizon for this University and football team. This time away will allow me the opportunity to return to Florida and be a part of my son’s senior year in high school. Again, I wish the University of Illinois and this football program nothing but the best.”
Head coach Lovie Smith said he supports the decision and wishes his former assistant the best. The current staff will absorb Abraham’s responsibilities.
“Donnie informed me that he felt it was in his best interest to leave our staff,” Smith said. “I fully support his decision and wish him the best moving forward.”
Reporters noticed Abraham was not at practice Tuesday. He joined the staff in 2017 as a safeties coach.
Illinois opens the 2018 season on Sept. 1 against Kent State.