Decatur Illini Fans Like Smith Selection


DECATUR– The reaction from Illinois fans in Decatur to the hiring of former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith as the new coach of the Fighting Illini football team was mostly positive Monday.

“Are you kidding me?  Lovie Smith,” stated one surprised man on Merchant Street who had not heard the news.  “Oh that’s beautiful.  He may be able to do something with the Illini.”

Smith replaces Bill Cubit who was fired on Saturday.  He is the first African American to coach the Illinois football team.  His name is familiar throughout the Midwest and may be a factor in attracting quality athletes to the Urbana-Champaign campus.

“I think it’s great,” said Ryan McCrady of the Economic Development Corporation as he walked downtown.  “I think you get a top name like that you attract a lot of attention.  That’s a big part of recruiting.  I think they’ll do a great job and I’m looking forward to great things out of him.”

Smith will have his work cut out for him inheriting a team that failed to make it to the post season in 2015.

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