Former Illini head coach joins Bears' NFC North rival

Former Illini head coach joins Bears' NFC North rival
February 7, 2014, 10:00 am
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Scott Krinch

Former Illinois head coach Ron Zook has been out of the spotlight for the last three years. Now, the familiar face will be coaching against the Bears twice in 2014.

Zook will join the Green Bay Packers coaching staff as a linebackers coach, according to Pete Roussel of

Zook was fired by the Illini following a 6-6 season in 2011. The 59-year-old Ohio native took Illinois to the Rose Bowl during the 2007 season, but they were slaughtered by John David Booty and the USC Trojans, 49-17. Zook's career record in Champaign was 34-51 with his lone Bowl victory coming in the 2010 Texas Bowl over Baylor.

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Zook is no stranger to the NFL. He was the special teams coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1996-98, he spent the 1999 season coaching the defensive backs with the Kansas City Chiefs and was the defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints from 2000-2001. He established a relationship with Packers head coach Mike McCarthy in 2000, who was the offensive coordinator of the Saints at the time.

Zook will replace Kevin Greene on the Packers coaching staff, after the star NFL linebacker stepped away from the team following the 2013 season.

The Packers also added former Detroit Lions running backs coach Sam Gash to their coaching staff, according to Roussel.