Zook in May 2008
|Salt Lake Stallions|
|Position:||Secondary coach / Special teams coordinator|
|Born:||April 28, 1954|
|High school:||Loudonville High School|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Head coaching record|
|Career:||NCAA: 57–65 (.467)|
Ronald Andrew Zook // ; born April 28, 1954) is an American football coach and former player who is currently the special teams coordinator and secondary coach for the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). He served as the head football coach at the University of Florida from 2002 to 2004 and the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign from 2005 to 2011. Zook is a native of Ohio and an alumnus of Miami University, where he played college football. He has worked as an assistant coach in the National Football League (NFL) with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1996–1998), Kansas City Chiefs (1999), and New Orleans Saints (2000–2001). In August 2012, he was hired as a college football studio analyst by CBS Sports. He was also employed as the special teams coach for the Green Bay Packers.(
American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.
The Salt Lake Stallions is a professional American football team based in Salt Lake City, and one of the charter members of the Alliance of American Football (AAF), which began play in February 2019. The Stallions are the northernmost team in the AAF, as the league's only franchise north of the 35th parallel. The team's head coach is Dennis Erickson, who has a 179–96–1 record coaching college football and a 40–56 record coaching in the NFL.
The Alliance of American Football (AAF) is a professional American football league, founded by Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian. The AAF consists of eight centrally owned and operated teams, all in the southern and western United States. All teams except Birmingham are located in metropolitan areas that have at least one major professional sports franchise.
Ronald Andrew Zook was born in Ashland, Ohio and raised in nearby Loudonville.At Loudonville High School, Zook played basketball, track, and football. Upon graduating, he was offered a track scholarship to Purdue University and received offers to play football at several small colleges in the Midwest. However, Zook wanted to play Division I football, so he decided to walk on at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He made the team, and by his senior season, Zook was a starting defensive back and a co-captain for the Miami Redskins (which changed to the RedHawks in 1997). He graduated with a bachelor's degree in comprehensive science in 1976.
Ashland is a city in and the county seat of Ashland County, Ohio, United States, located 66 miles southwest of Cleveland and 82 miles northeast of Columbus. The population was 20,362 at the 2010 census. It is the center of the Ashland Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Loudonville is a village in Ashland and Holmes counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. The population was 2,641 at the 2010 census. Loudonville is nicknamed the "Canoe Capital of Ohio" for the many canoe liveries along the Mohican River. It is also home to Mohican State Park and Mohican-Memorial State Forest and Landoll's Mohican Castle.
Loudonville High School is a high school in Loudonville, Ohio. It is the only high school in the Loudonville-Perrysville Exempted Village School District. However, younger students attend one of three schools. 1st- 3rd graders attend the R.F. McMullen School, then cross the street to attend the C.E. Budd School for grades 4-6. Then, students attend the high school campus for 7th and 8th grades. The school colors are maroon and gray, though the sports teams wear red and the gray color changes from white, silver or gray. Controversy has appeared with using the color black. There are approximately 450 students currently enrolled in Loudonville High School. Loudonville is the hometown of football coach Ron Zook, currently the Special Teams Coordinator for the Green Bay Packers. Zook graduated from LHS in 1972.
Zook started coaching football immediately upon graduating from college, beginning his career in 1976 as the defensive backs coach at Orrville High School in Orrville, Ohio under head coach Mo Tipton.
Orrville High School is a public high school in Orrville, Ohio. It is the only high school in the Orrville City School District. The school nickname is the Red Riders.
Orrville is a city in Wayne County, Ohio, United States. It is about 9 miles east of Wooster and 20 miles southwest of Akron. The population was 8,380 at the 2010 census.
In 1978, Zook began his college football coaching career when he became a graduate assistant at Murray State University. Through the 1980s, Zook held coaching positions with a number of college football teams, serving as a defensive coordinator at Cincinnati and Kansas and as a position coach at Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Ohio State.
A graduate assistant is a person who serves in a support role (assistantship) at a university, usually while completing post-graduate education. The individual typically assists professors with instructional responsibilities as teaching assistants or with academic research responsibilities as research assistants, aids coaches with an athletic team, or is employed by other university departments.
Murray State University (MSU) is a public university in Murray, Kentucky. In addition to the main campus in Calloway County in southwestern Kentucky, Murray State operates extended campuses offering upper level and graduate courses in Paducah, Hopkinsville, Madisonville, and Henderson.
A defensive coordinator is a coach responsible for a gridiron football team's defense. Generally, the defensive coordinator and the offensive coordinator represent the second level of a team's command structure, with the head coach being the first level. The primary role of the defensive coordinator is managing the roster of defensive players, overseeing the assistant coaches, developing the defensive game plan, and calling plays for the defense during the game. The defensive coordinator typically manages multiple assistant coaches, each of whom are responsible for various defensive positions on the team.
Beginning in 1991, Zook served as defensive coordinator for three seasons at the University of Florida under head coach Steve Spurrier. After the 1993 season, Spurrier reassigned Zook to be the special teams coordinator, a move considered by many to be a demotion due to the team's unsatisfactory performance on pass defense. Zook's special teams units performed well enough during the 1994 season that he was offered the defensive coordinator position at Michigan State, prompting Spurrier to give him the title of associate head coach to help keep him at Florida.
The 1991 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1991 NCAA Division I-A football season. The season was Steve Spurrier's second as the head coach of the Florida Gators football team. The Gators were led by quarterback Shane Matthews and first-team All-American defensive tackle Brad Culpepper.
The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida, United States. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. The university traces its origins to 1853 and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.
Stephen Orr Spurrier is a former American football player and coach often referred to by his nickname, the "Head Ball Coach". Steve Spurrier was born in Miami Beach, Florida and grew up in Tennessee, where he was a multi-sport all-state athlete at Science Hill High School in Johnson City. He attended the University of Florida, where he won the 1966 Heisman Trophy as a college football quarterback with the Florida Gators. The San Francisco 49ers picked him in the first round of the 1967 NFL draft, and he spent a decade playing professionally in the National Football League (NFL), mainly as a backup quarterback and punter. Spurrier was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame as a player in 1986.
Florida defensive coordinator Bobby Pruett left to become the head coach at Marshall University in January 1995 and Zook was promoted to take his place, becoming Florida's defensive coordinator once again. However, the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers offered Zook the job of special teams coordinator just one month later and he accepted, leaving the college game for a time.With Zook leaving, Bob Stoops was brought in to run Florida's defense.
Robert Lewis Pruett is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach Marshall University for nine seasons, from 1996 to 2004. During his tenure at Marshall, the Marshall Thundering Herd football team compiled a record of 94–23, completed two undefeated seasons, won six conference championships, won five of seven bowl games played, and captured the NCAA Division I-AA Football Championship in 1996. Pruett has coached many high-profile National Football League players, including Randy Moss, Chad Pennington, and Byron Leftwich. In 1999, he was inducted into the Marshall University Athletics Hall of Fame for his collegiate career in football, track and field, and wrestling.
The Marshall Thundering Herd football team is an intercollegiate varsity sports program of Marshall University. The team represents the university as a member of the Conference USA Eastern division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, playing at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level.
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.
After leaving Florida, Zook served three seasons as special teams coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, then was the defensive backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999. In the 2000 and 2001 seasons, Zook served as the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints.In 2000, the Saints finished 10–6 with Zook's defense ranking 10th in points allowed. DT La'Roi Glover led the team with 17 Sacks followed by 12 from DE Joe Johnson and 11 by DE Darren Howard.
In January 2002, Steve Spurrier resigned from Florida to explore head coaching opportunities in the NFL, eventually signing with the Washington Redskins. Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley sought to replace him with either Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan or Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, but each decided to remain with their respective teams. Foley's next choice was Zook, who accepted the job.Given the success of Spurrier's 12-year tenure, expectations at Florida were high, and seemingly "settling" for Zook as the Gators' new coach was not popular with many students and supporters. Others did not understand why the university would hire a man who was demoted as a coordinator on the same staff to be head coach. Within a day of Zook's hiring, one fan started a website called FireRonZook.com that gained national media attention. Many fraternity houses hung banners from week to week either praising Zook or calling for his firing.
Zook was head coach at Florida for three seasons. The Gators compiled records of 8–5 (2002), 8–5 (2003) and 7–5 (2004). While Zook's tenure saw modest success, it was well short of what Gator fans had come to expect. In his three seasons, the Gators lost six games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. By comparison, Spurrier lost only five home games in 12 years. Many of the losses were fourth quarter comebacks by the opposition, causing many fans to question the prevent defense which was employed. Zook did not beat a ranked opponent at home during his time at Florida. Zook was fired before the end of the 2004 season after a 38–31 road loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (who were 1–5 prior to the game, including a home loss to Division I-AA Maine). He had not helped his cause by getting into a heated argument with several fraternity members a few weeks earlier after being called in to defuse a dispute between the brothers and his players.Zook finished the regular season, but did not coach the Gators in the Peach Bowl because he had already accepted the head coach's job at Illinois. Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong coached the Gators in the Peach Bowl. After Zook's departure, his successor Urban Meyer won a national title in 2006, largely with players whom Zook had recruited.
During his time at Florida, Zook did have some notable accomplishments. He handed both the 2002 Georgia Bulldogs and 2003 LSU Tigers their only loss of the year. His Gators defeated three highly ranked teams in succession in 2003, all away from home (LSU, Arkansas and Georgia). In his final game he defeated the Florida State Seminoles at Tallahassee, something Steve Spurrier never did. This victory occurred on the night FSU dedicated Bobby Bowden Field, leading Gator fans to refer to it as Ron Zook Field. Zook had winning records against SEC foes Georgia (2–1) and Auburn (1–0). Zook was regarded as a fine recruiter who brought a great deal of talent to Florida during his tenure as head coach. Following the Gators' victory over Ohio State in the 2007 BCS National Championship Game, Urban Meyer praised Zook for recruiting the large class of seniors who played in the game. Twenty-two of the 24 starters were recruited to Florida by Zook.
In 2005, the University of Illinois hired Zook to replace Ron Turner as the head coach of the Illinois Fighting Illini football team. Zook inherited a program which had become a disaster since winning the Big Ten championship in 2001. They had only won nine games in the three seasons since, and only five games in Big Ten play. In Zook's inaugural season of 2005, Illinois finished with an overall record of 2–9, and a record of 0–8 in Big Ten games.
Despite his team's past struggles, Zook improved the ability of Illinois to recruit top football talent. According to one source, the 2006 recruiting class was one of the 30 best in college football.Despite this, they finished the 2006 season 1–7 in the conference and 2–10 overall. While the record did not improve, the play on the field did as the Illini nearly upset top ranked Ohio State in Champaign before losing 17–10. Additionally, the Illini played well against Iowa, Wisconsin, and Penn State (they lost 63–10 the year before; Penn State led 56–3 at halftime) but ended up losing close games (they were down 15–12 at Penn State until Penn State broke open the close game to make it 26–12).
The 2006 recruiting class included Isiah "Juice" Williams of Chicago Vocational High School, considered to be one of the top quarterback recruits in the country.In late 2006, Zook signed Arrelious Benn, one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2007 class. More recently, Zook also won over Simeon High School standout Martez Wilson along with Florida prospect D'Angelo McCray. This class was one of Illinois' best in recent memory, being rated within the top 25 nationally by some experts.
Zook's recruiting success finally began to pay dividends during the 2007 season. After losing a close game on neutral turf to a Missouri squad which went on to be ranked as high as #1, the Illini ran off five straight wins, including back-to-back home wins over Penn State and Wisconsin. Illinois' 5–1 start gave them a #18 ranking in the AP Poll. This was Illinois' first ranking in the AP Poll since the end of the 2001 season. However, the ranking proved to be short-lived after consecutive losses to Iowa and Michigan. A homecoming win over Ball State gave the Illini bowl eligibility and a blowout win at Minnesota all but assured Zook's first bowl appearance as coach of the Illini. On November 10, the then-unranked Illini defeated #1-ranked Ohio State in Columbus. The Illini finished the 2007 regular season by defeating Northwestern to finish 9–3 overall, 6–2 in the Big Ten. Because Big Ten champion Ohio State played in the BCS National Championship game, Illinois received a bid to play in the Rose Bowl as the second ranked team in the Big Ten. Their improvement of 7 wins over the 2006 season was the largest such increase of any Division I team. His success earned Zook a contract extension in October 2007, which paid him approximately $1.5 million through the 2013 season.Zook's success on recruiting trail continued as well, with Illinois having the #17 recruiting class in 2008 according to rivals.com.
On November 20, 2007, Ron Zook was selected as the Big Ten Coach of the Year.Zook also was awarded the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award following the 2007 season. After making the 2008 Rose Bowl, Illinois was squashed, 49–17, by the USC Trojans, putting a bit of a damper on an otherwise great season.
Expectations were high for 2008, but Illinois didn't live up to those expectations early on, as they lost to Missouri, 52–42, in their season opener and to Penn State, 38–24. After a 27–20 loss to Minnesota, Illinois crushed Indiana, 55–13. However, the Fighting Illini fell to Wisconsin the very next week; Wisconsin had been winless in Big Ten play prior to that game. While Zook's team was able to upset Iowa, 27–24, a week after their loss to Wisconsin, Illini finished 2008 with a three-game losing streak at the hands of Western Michigan (23–17), Ohio State (30–20), and Northwestern (27–10).
Despite a very disappointing 2008 season, Zook's 2009 Fighting Illini team received AP Poll votes. As they had the previous two years, Illinois started off the season with a loss to Missouri, but this time, the result was far more lopsided than the previous affairs; Missouri won 39–7. Illinois stomped Illinois State, 45–17, the next week, but then suffered an embarrassing 30–0 shutout at the hands of Ohio State. Illinois lost their next four games by 10 points or more (including a 27–14 loss to Indiana, which was the Hoosiers' only Big Ten win of the season), sinking to 1–6 overall. Zook's team then put together a stunning blowout of the Michigan Wolverines in Memorial Stadium, and followed it up with a 35–32 upset of Minnesota the very next week. After back-to-back wins, the Illini fell to the rival Northwestern Wildcats, 21–16. To close out the season, the Fighting Illini put up a fight against Cincinnati, who finished the year undefeated, but were unable to pull off the upset; and the Fighting Illini fell at home to Fresno State in a wild 53–52 game the very next week.
At the end of the 2009 season, offensive coordinator Mike Schultz was released from his contract,and co-defensive coordinators Dan Disch and Curt Mallory were demoted to position coaches. Illinois hired Paul Petrino as offensive coordinator, and Vic Koenning as defensive coordinator.
After back-to-back disappointing years, the Illini had almost no pre-season expectations entering 2010. Juice Williams and Arrelious Benn were no longer on the team. However, running back Mikel Leshoure was, and he proved to be an invaluable asset on offense, where Illinois started freshman Nathan Scheelhaase at quarterback.
They started off 2010 by losing to Missouri for the fourth consecutive year, 23–13. They held a 13–3 lead that almost lasted the length of the game. After the early loss, Illinois defeated Southern Illinois, 35–3, and Northern Illinois, 28–22. While the Fighting Illini lost to Ohio State in their Big Ten opener, they gave the Buckeyes a scare, knocking out quarterback Terrelle Pryor and holding the Buckeye passing offense almost entirely in check. Illinois then traveled to State College to take on the Nittany Lions, and Illinois had never won in Beaver Stadium prior to 2010. Illinois handed Penn State a stunning 33–13 loss on homecoming. They went on to win the Texas Bowl in a blowout against Baylor.
As the 2011 season begun, the Illini were picked by most experts to finish near the bottom of the newly formed Leaders Division. However, Illinois got off to one of their best starts in history by winning their first six games. After taking care of Arkansas State, 33–15, and blasting South Dakota State, 56–3, the Fighting Illini won a trio of home games by a margin of a field goal over 22nd-ranked Arizona State (17–14), Western Michigan (23–20), and Northwestern (38–35) in a game in which Illinois rallied from a 28–10 deficit in the second half. After defeating Indiana, 41–20, in Illinois' first road game of the season, the Illini were 6–0 for the first time since 1951 and they climbed to 15th in the Coaches' Poll and 16th in the AP Poll. However, the Illini lost, 17–7, to Ohio State and the season seemed headed towards a downward spiral as Illinois lost a pair of close road games at Purdue (21–14) and Penn State (10–7). Illinois returned home and lost to Michigan, 31–14. On the Tuesday before the Wisconsin game, Zook opened his weekly press conference by warning the reporters not to ask questions about his job status. When reporter Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune asked Zook if he had talked to his players about the rumors pertaining to his future, he walked out of the press conference. The Illini went on to lose to Wisconsin, 28–17, and finished the regular season with a 27–7 loss to Minnesota. With the loss to the Golden Gophers, Illinois became the first team in NCAA Division I FBS history to start a season 6–0, and end it at 6–6. Zook was fired on November 27, 2011. His final record at Illinois was 34–51. The Illini did receive a bowl invitation and they defeated UCLA in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. It was first time in school history that the football team won back-to-back bowl games.
After leaving Illinois, Zook spent two seasons out of football, during which time he worked as a college football studio analyst for CBS and took an executive position at a bank in Ocala, Florida.
In 2014, Zook was hired by the Green Bay Packers to the position of assistant special teams coordinator.He was not retained by the team after the 2018 season. .
On February 28, 2019, Zook joined the Salt Lake Stallions of the Alliance of American Football as special teams coordinator and secondary coach.
|Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference)(2002–2004)|
|2002||Florida||8–5||6–2||2nd (Eastern)||L Outback||24|
|2003||Florida||8–5||6–2||T–1st (Eastern)||L Outback||25||24|
|Illinois Fighting Illini (Big Ten Conference)(2005–2011)|
|2007||Illinois||9–4||6–2||2nd||L Rose †||18||20|
|2011||Illinois||6–6||2–6||5th (Leaders)||Fight Hunger|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title or championship game berth|
Assistant coaches under Ron Zook who became NCAA head coaches:
Nathaniel Donnell Abraham is an American football coach and former cornerback who currently serves as the defensive backs coach for the Orlando Apollos of the Alliance of American Football (AAF). In his career, he played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996–2001) and the New York Jets (2002–2004).
Lou Tepper is an American football coach and former player currently serving as defensive coordinator of the Buffalo Bulls. Previously, he was the head football coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2006-2010), the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1991–1996) and Edinboro University of Pennsylvania (2000–2005). He was the defensive coordinator at Louisiana State University from 1997 to 1999.
The Illinois Fighting Illini football program represents the University of Illinois in college football at the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision level. Illinois has five national championships and 15 Big Ten championships.
Charlie Rene Strong is an American football coach and former player. Strong is currently the head coach at the University of South Florida. Strong held numerous assistant coaching positions before becoming a head coach at the University of Louisville in 2010. During his four-year stint at Louisville, he led the Cardinals to a 37–15 record and reached a bowl game each season, including the 2013 Sugar Bowl. After the 2013 season he left Louisville to become the head coach at the University of Texas. He was fired by Texas after the 2016 season with a 16–21 record in three seasons. One month after leaving Texas, Strong was hired at South Florida.
Victor Emanuel Koenning Jr. is a former professional American football player, and currently serves as the defensive coordinator at West Virginia University. He was recently defensive coordinator at Troy University. He was the interim head coach at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 2011 and was the head football coach at the University of Wyoming from 2000 to 2002, where he compiled a record of 5–29.
The 2005 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida in the sport of American football during the 2005 college football season. The Gators competed in Division I-A of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and played their home games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus. The season was the team's first of six under head coach Urban Meyer, who led the Gators to an Outback Bowl berth and an overall win-loss record of 9–3 (.750).
The Florida–Florida State football rivalry, occasionally called the Sunshine Showdown, is an American college football rivalry between the teams of the two oldest public universities of the U.S. state of Florida: the University of Florida Gators and Florida State University Seminoles. Although both universities participate in a range of intercollegiate sports, the competition between the Gators and the Seminoles has most often focused on football.
The 2004 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida in the sport of American football during the 2004 NCAA Division I-A football season. The Gators competed in Division I-A of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Eastern Division of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), and played their home games at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the university's Gainesville, Florida campus. The season was the third and last for head coach Ron Zook, who led the Gators to a regular season record of 7–4 (.636).
The Florida–Tennessee football rivalry, sometimes referred to as the "Third Saturday in September", is an American college football rivalry between the Florida Gators football team of the University of Florida and Tennessee Volunteers football team of the University of Tennessee, who first met on the football field in 1916. The Gators and Vols have competed in the same athletic conference since Florida joined the now-defunct Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association in 1910, and the schools were founding members of the Southeastern Conference in 1932. Despite this long conference association, a true rivalry did not develop until the early 1990s due to the infrequency of earlier meetings; in the first seventy-six years (1916–91) of the series, the two teams met just twenty-one times. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) expanded to twelve universities and split into two divisions in 1992. Florida and Tennessee were placed in the SEC's East Division and have met on a home-and-home basis every season since. Their rivalry quickly blossomed in intensity and importance in the 1990s and early 2000s as both programs regularly fielded national championship contending teams under coaches Phil Fulmer of Tennessee and Steve Spurrier at Florida.
The 1966 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida in the sport of American football during the 1966 NCAA University Division football season. The Gators competed in the University Division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). In their seventh season under head coach Ray Graves, the Gators compiled a 9–2 overall win-loss record, finished 5–1 and placed third among the SEC's ten teams. Led by quarterback Steve Spurrier, the Gators outscored their opponents by a combined total of 265 to 147 and concluded their 1966 season with a 27–12 victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in the 1967 Orange Bowl. The Gators were not ranked in the final AP Poll, but finished No. 11 in the final UPI Coaches Poll.
The 1990 Florida Gators football team represented the University of Florida during the 1990 NCAA Division I-A football season. The season marked the return of the Gators' Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Steve Spurrier to his alma mater as the new head coach of the Florida Gators football team.
The 2007 Illinois Fighting Illini football team represented the University of Illinois in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team's head coach was Ron Zook. The Illini played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. Illinois entered the season in search of improvement upon a 2–10 record in 2006, and secured bowl-eligibility the first time since 2001 with a homecoming win over Ball State. From weeks 2–6, the Illini won five straight games, their longest win streak since 2001. On November 10, the Fighting Illini upset the then #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
Jerry D. Anderson, also known by his nickname "Red Anderson," is an American former college football player and coach.
Mike Mallory is an American football coach and a former player who currently works as assistant special teams coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football as a linebacker for the University of Michigan from 1982 to 1985. He was the Most Valuable Player for the 1984 Michigan team and was a finalist for the Butkus Award in 1985. Since 1986, he has been a college football coach, including stints as the defensive coordinator for the Rhode Island Rams (1993–1995), Northern Illinois Huskies (1996–1999), Illinois Fighting Illini (2004–2005). He was also the assistant special teams coach of the New Orleans Saints from 2008 to 2012.
Michael Anthony Locksley is an American football coach. He is currently the head coach for the University of Maryland football team and former offensive coordinator for the University of Alabama. After serving as an assistant coach for several college football squads, he became the 29th head coach of the University of New Mexico Lobos football team in 2009. Locksley was fired on September 25, 2011 after going 2–26.
The 2009 Illinois Fighting Illini football team represented the University of Illinois during the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The team's head football coach was Ron Zook. The Illini played their home games at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. This was Ron Zook's fifth season as the Illini head coach. The Illini finished the season 3–9. The Illini failed to live up to the lofty preseason expectations, receiving almost enough votes in the AP Poll to be ranked, and even were considered a dark horse candidate for the Big Ten championship. But after their blowout loss to Missouri, they failed to receive any votes, and failed to show any improvement until the Michigan State game, which followed blowout losses to Penn State and Ohio State, but by late in the season, they were able to upset Michigan and Minnesota while also giving Cincinnati a game.
The 2011 Illinois Fighting Illini football team represented the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in the 2011 NCAA Division I FBS football season. The Fighting Illini, who were led during the regular season by seventh-year head coach Ron Zook, are members of the Big Ten Conference in the Legends Division and played their home games at Memorial Stadium. Zook was fired after the team lost the final six games of its regular season. Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning was appointed as interim head coach led the team in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. On December 9, Illinois hired Tim Beckman as their new permanent head coach.
The history of Florida Gators football began in 1906, when the newly established "University of the State of Florida" fielded a football team during its first full academic year of existence. The school's name was shortened to the University of Florida in 1908, and the football team gained the nickname "Gators" in 1911. The program started small, usually playing six to eight games per season against small colleges and local athletic club teams in north Florida and south Georgia, and developed an early rivalry with the Hatters of Stetson University in nearby Deland and Mercer in Macon.