Illinois hires Bielema as coach to lift struggling program
Bielema is returning to the Big Ten and his home state to coach Illinois. Illinois hired the former Wisconsin and Arkansas coach, hoping he can turn around a program with nine straight losing seasons. Illinois said Bielema will receive a six-year contract with an annual salary starting at $4.2 million, and begin work immediately. He became the third coach in NCAA history to win 12 games in his rookie season when Wisconsin went 12-1 in 2006. In January, the New York Giants and new head coach Joe Judge hired Bielema as outside linebackers coach and senior assistant.