Illinois has found its next head coach, announcing the hiring of Bret Bielema early Saturday morning.

Bielema spent 2018-19 as an NFL assistant within the New England Patriots organization and was an assistant with the New York Giants in 2020. Before that, he was the head coach at Arkansas from 2013-17.

Bielema is best known for his seven-year stint as head coach at Wisconsin. During that window, he captured three B1G titles and compiled 68 wins for the Badgers.


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On Saturday, Illinois announced the hiring and revealed that Bielema will have a six-year contract to begin his tenure. The starting salary will be for $4.2 million annually and Bielema will begin his duties immediately, including being on hand for Illinois’ game at Penn State on Saturday:

Bielema’s initial contract is for six years beginning with an annual salary of $4.2 million. He will begin his duties at Illinois immediately and will attend the game Saturday (Dec. 19) as a guest of Whitman’s when Illinois plays at Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania.

Best of luck to Bielema as he begins his time at the helm for the Illini!