Illinois parted ways with head coach Ron Zook following a disappointing second half of the season that saw the Illini lose six consecutive games. Now Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas must begin the search for his next coach, and the Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan offers some potential candidates. Among them are Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, Temple head coach Steve Addazio and South Florida head coach Skip Holtz. On Jones:
Butch Jones: The Cincinnati coach has ties to Thomas, who hired him at Cincinnati to replace Brian Kelly. At 43, he's considered an up-and-comer, rebounding from a 4-8 inaugural season to an 8-3 record as the Bearcats have a shot at a share of the Big East title. He won two MAC titles in three years at Central Michigan.
Other names on Ryan's list include Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads and Mike Leach.