Chicago Bears Fans Excited For Lovie Smith To Coach Illinois

    Chicago Bears fans were not shy with their reactions to Illinois hiring Lovie Smith as the program's new head football coach.

    March 7, 2016

    Watch Chicago Bears fans react to the University of Illinois’ hiring of Lovie Smith as head football coach.

    Bob Newhart once described his hometown of Chicago as “a city where you say what you mean, mean what you say and, most importantly, where you must be able to back up what you say.” And while this sentiment perfectly encapsulates the no-frills nature of the Windy City, it’s perhaps no more accurate than when dealing with Chicago’s sports teams.

    There are no softballs, no punches pulled, and no false praise. Players and coaches know exactly where they stand – in both the eyes of fans and media – at all times. It’s blunt feedback for a blue-collar city.

    The University of Illinois surely knew this when tabbing Lovie Smith as the program’s newest head football coach. Smith, who hasn’t coached a college team in 20 years (he was Ohio State’s defensive backs coach in 1995), was a savvy hire by a program that has resembled little more than a clown show for the past year. The Illini fired former head coach Tim Beckman amid allegations of player mistreatment right before the 2015 season, slogged through a modest 5-7 campaign under stopgap Bill Cubit, and then axed athletic director Mike Thomas in November (or as the university chancellor called it: “put[ting] the distractions of these past months behind us”) to end the madness. Suffice to say, a change was needed.

    In his first major decision as athletic director, Josh Whitman decided to bring in Smith. As for Chicago, well, it has no love lost for Lovie. Smith enjoyed a largely successful, nine-year run with the Bears, and he has some ties to the fecund recruiting grounds of Florida thanks to his tenure with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Most importantly, Smith won’t rock boats, all while lending NFL credibility to the program.

    So, while the hire makes sense to anyone outside of the program, what about those who have an intimate knowledge of Smith? The overall tone was joyful.

    MORE: Hiring Lovie Makes Illinois Football Matter


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