Bret Bielema’s first-year staff at Illinois is almost complete. ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg is reporting that one of the final pieces may now be in place.

Per Rittenberg, Illinois is planning to hire SMU defensive coordinator Kevin Kane to become a senior defensive assistant for the Fighting Illini. He was also the linebackers coach for the Mustangs this past season.

Kane has been the defensive coordinator at SMU for the last three seasons. He was a strong candidate to fill plenty of defensive openings with Power 5 programs this offseason, according to Rittenberg. But Bielema is apparently the one who is able to convince Kane to come to Champaign.

When Bielema was at Wisconsin, Kane was a graduate assistant at Wisconsin from 2008-09 before becoming a defensive quality control coach for the 2010 season. After three seasons in Madison, he moved on to Northern Illinois where he took on multiple roles in four seasons with the Huskies.

Kane made a one-year stop at Kansas before returning to Northern Illinois and then taking the job at SMU. He brings plenty of experience to Illinois with an understanding of the B1G recruiting footprint.