NCAA Talk

Lovie Smith given contract extension with Illinois

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USA TODAY

Lovie Smith given contract extension with Illinois

Despite four Big Ten wins in his first three seasons in charge of Illinois football, Lovie Smith and his Santa Clause beard got a contract extension on Sunday.

The Illini re-upped Lovie Smith for two more years, which keeps him under contract through 2023. The move is a bit of a surprise considering the former Bears coach is 9-27 since taking over the Illini. This season the Illini went 4-8, which was his best record.

Given Smith's record, Illinois AD Josh Whitman explained that continuity and a young roster are reasons to keep Smith in charge.

"This extension demonstrates my belief in Lovie Smith, his staff, and the plan they have for the future success of Illinois Football," Whitman said in Illinois' press release on the extension. "I have studied our program extensively, and I see steady progress, both in the development of our current players and the talent we are adding to our roster. To date, we have remained one of the youngest teams in college football, with only nine seniors and nearly 80 freshmen and sophomores. As our players grow in strength, skill, and experience, more wins will follow. 

"We recognize that our work is far from finished, with improvement needed in every phase of our program's development, but our plan is sound and our resolve is stronger than ever," Whitman continued. "As I have said on many occasions, stability and continuity are key to building a foundation that will yield long-term success."

Illinois hasn't made a bowl game since 2014 and hasn't had a winning record in the Big Ten since 2007. Smith went 3-9 in his first year in 2016 (2-7 in the Big Ten) before going winless in the Big Ten last season with a 2-10 overall record.

Given the state the program was in when Smith took over, no one expected a quick turnaround for the Illini. The extension allows Smith to show potential recruits that the program has stability and he isn't on the hot seat. As Chris Vannini of The Athletic tweeted, if it doesn't change Lovie Smith's buyout, it doesn't change anything about Illinois' ability to fire him if there isn't improvement in 2019.

Smith coached the Bears from 2004-2012 and had an 81-63 record in his tenure, including taking the team to a Super Bowl. He is the only Bears coach to have a winning record in his tenure since Mike Ditka left after the 1992 season.

Porter Moser announces he's staying at Loyola

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Porter Moser announces he's staying at Loyola

Porter Morter isn't going anywhere.

After reports circulated that St. John's offered him a long-term contract worth north of $2 million per year, the 50-year-old head coach has decided instead to stay at Loyola. He's led the Ramblers to three 20-win seasons in the past five years, and guided the program in 2018 to their first Final Four appearance since 1963 — a span of 55 years.

Moser released this statement on his Twitter account on Tuesday:


Dear Rambler Nation,

I know there have been a lot of things swirling out there the past few days. Because I have coached and coached with some amazing young men, and because I have had the support of the University, friends, family, and the loyal Loyola fans; opportunities have arisen. I know that is part of the business, but it doesn't change the fact that I'm humbled, grateful, and grounded with what comes my way.

People in business say I'm crazy for passing up opportunities and the money. But what they don't know is the amazing young men I coach and the culture we have built. What they don't know are the amazing young men who are committed to come to Loyola and wear the Maroon and Gold. What they don't know are the people and friends that make up the Loyola community. And what they don't know is what makes me tick.

So what I do say to Rambler nation is ... let's keep building this culture and making a difference. Let's keep chasing championships. Let's do things better than we have ever done before.

With that said ... I'M ALL IN!

SportsTalk Live Podcast: What does Duke's loss mean for Zion's college legacy?

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SportsTalk Live Podcast: What does Duke's loss mean for Zion's college legacy?

David Haugh, Teddy Greenstein and Chris Bleck join Kap on the panel.

0:00- The Men's Final Four is set and the biggest surprise is that Duke isn't one of the four. What does the loss mean for Zion Williamson's legacy in Durham?

7:30- The panel breaks down the Final Four matchups.

11:00- After a disasterous weekend in Texas, should Cubs fans be worried about their team even though they've played only 3 games?

17:00- The panel recapping the betting weekend including Virginia's bad beat and the Bears win total.

Listen to the entire podcast here or in the embedded player below.

Sports Talk Live Podcast

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