Illinois officially hires defensive coordinator from SEC program
Illinois has officially hired Missouri’s Ryan Walters to be its next defensive coordinator.
That news was reported on Wednesday, but the Illini announced the hire on Thursday morning.
“It is a great pleasure to bring Ryan here to the University of Illinois Football Family,” Illinois coach said a statement. “Ryan has demonstrated great success in his coaching career as an assistant, as a coordinator and as a leader of young men. He’ll be a great addition to our staff to help us motivate, recruit and develop a roster full of champions. Ryan and his family will be a terrific fit in our program, at our university and in the Champaign-Urbana community.”
Walters played safety for Colorado from 2004-08. He immediately started his coaching career upon graduation, becoming a GA for the Buffs in 2009.
From there, Walters coached at Arizona, Oklahoma, North Texas and Memphis before landing at Missouri in 2015.
Walters filled a number of different roles for the Tigers since 2015, and was most-recently the defensive coordinator and safeties coach.
“I’m thankful and grateful for the opportunity that Coach Bielema is giving me to coach with him at the University of Illinois,” Walters said in a statement. “Coach B is one of the most respected defensive minds in college football, and, as a young defensive coordinator, this is an opportunity I can’t pass up. Coach B has a proven track record of incredible success in the Big Ten, as well as his years working in the NFL, that will put our program in position to win at a high level. I appreciate the time and opportunity that I had at Missouri, but my family and I are looking forward to the new challenge in front of us as we build a championship football program.”
Walters’ old boss at Mizzou, Eli Drinkwitz, also released a statement on the hire.
— Mizzou Football (@MizzouFootball) January 7, 2021