Illinois fires Zook

Illinois dismissed head coach Ron Zook on Sunday morning, according to the Champaign News-Gazette. An official announcement is expected to come later in the day.

Ron ZookICONRon Zook recorded a 34-51 mark at Illinois.

The former Florida head coach concluded his seventh season with the Fighting Illini with a 27-7 loss at Minnesota. It was the team's sixth straight defeat after a 6-0 start.

Zook led the Illini to two bowl games in his tenure, including an appearance in the Rose Bowl, but he struggled to maintain a consistent winning program. Several off-the-field incidents involving his players also marred his tenure, and he never could quite win over a certain segment of the Illini's fan base.

Many believed the Zook era was going to come to an end after a 3-9 2009 season, but he was given another year and brought in new coordinators Paul Petrino and Vic Koenning. Petrino helped the offense set school scoring records in 2010, but the unit took a major step back in the second half of this year. Koenning's defense was the only consistent aspect of the Illini team this fall.

Zook finishes at Illinois with a 34-51 record.

It will certainly be interesting to see which names are on the short list of new athletic director Mike Thomas for this opening.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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