The Illinois Fighting Illini fired coach Lovie Smith after a stagnant 2020 season that also saw the Illini bring in the worst Power 5 recruiting class in the 2020 recruiting cycle.

Now, according to a report from Bruce Feldman, the Illini have found their new coach.

Per Feldman, the school is turning to a guy with a proven track record of success in the Big Ten — Bret Bielema:

Illinois later announced that Bielema would be its next head coach.

Bielema has been the head coach at Wisconsin and Arkansas. With the Badgers, he went 68-24 in 7 seasons, winning 3-straight B1G titles from 2010-12.

At Arkansas, he fared a bit worse, going 29-34 in 5 seasons. He did go 2-1 in bowl games with the Hogs, though. He has spent the past 3 seasons in the NFL with the New England Patriots and New York Giants.

Can he revitalize the Illinois program? We’ll see what sort of recruiting class he can put together between now and February.