Illinois hires Okruch as defensive coordinator

Updated: March 1, 2006, 8:43 PM ET
Associated Press

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois hired Louisiana-Monroe linebackers coach Vince Okruch as defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Okruch has nearly 30 years experience as a college coach, which includes stints at Colorado, Minnesota and Northwestern. He comes to Illinois after one season at Louisiana-Monroe.

"He has had success at the highest level of college football and that winning attitude will be a great advantage as we move forward with the progress of this program," head coach Ron Zook said.

Okruch replaces Mike Mallory, fired by Zook in January.

The Illini ranked 115th out of 117 teams in the NCAA in yards (470) and points (39.5) allowed per game last season. They gave up 30 points or more to all but one opponent and went 2-9.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press