Illinois Defensive Coordinator Vic Koenning Will Not Return To Team In 2012

Illinois defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will serve as the interim head coach for the Illini in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl after the school fired Ron Zook several weeks ago, but he announced on Wednesday he will leave Illinois after the bowl game to "pursue other opportunities" in his coaching career. New head coach Tim Beckman had hoped to retain Koenning, who helped the Illini finish seventh in the nation in total defense in 2011, but now the team will have to look elsewhere. Here is what Koenning had to say:

"After a great deal of prayer and discussion with my family, I feel it is best to explore other opportunities," Koenning said in a statement released by the program on Wednesday. "The support of the Illini nation has been tremendous and hopefully they will continue to support this team in San Francisco and in the future."    

via the Chicago Tribune. At least one coach decided he will stay on staff with Beckman heading into next season, as Illinois defensive line coach Keith Gilmore will be retained for 2012. Beckman has now been denied his first choice for each coordinator position, as he offered the offensive coordinator job to Toledo's Matt Campbell but was turned down.

For more, keep tabs on SB Nation Chicago and SB Nation's NCAA football page. For more on the Fighting Illini, check out Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's Illinois Fighting Illini blog. For more on UCLA, head over to Bruins Nation.

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