Illinois fires coach Lovie Smith after 5 seasons

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Illinois has fired coach Lovie Smith with one game left in its ninth consecutive losing season. Smith became Illinois’ first Black head football coach when he was hired by athletic director Josh Whitman in March 2016. The longtime NFL coach went 17-39 in five seasons at the school. Smith’s original deal was for six years and $21 million, but he received a two-year extension through 2023 after Illinois went 4-8 in his third season.

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