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Illinois’ Bret Bielema positive for COVID-19, will miss Iowa game

NCAA Football: Illinois at Penn State

Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema walks to the locker room following the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois coach Bret Bielema has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss his team’s game at No. 18 Iowa.

Bielema said he was tested for the coronavirus after developing mild symptoms.

“I’m disappointed that I will not be with our team this week when we travel to Iowa, but I’m grateful that I’m vaccinated and received the booster shot last week,” he said in a statement.

Bielema said without elaborating that “through technology” he would be “as present as possible.” Assistant head coach George McDonald will be in charge during Bielema’s absence. Bielema said he hoped to return to the team next week.

Athletic director Josh Whitman said the athletic department medical staff was monitoring the team and that precautions have been taken to limit a potential spread within the program.