Board of trustees to consider three-year extension for Zook
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Illinois coach Ron Zook is expected to receive a contract extension on Wednesday, which he hopes will have a positive effect on recruiting.
The prospect of raises for his assistants should help, too.
"You look at the programs that have been successful ... continuity is a big, big thing," Zook said Tuesday during a news conference.
The university's board of trustees is expected to consider an extension and a raise for Zook at a meeting Wednesday in Chicago. The deal, which both university president Joseph White and chancellor Richard Herman have recommended, would extend Zook's contract by three years, through January 2013, and increase his pay from $1.055 million to $1.305 million next season, according to the board's meeting agenda.
Zook's pay would increase by another $200,000 a year if Illinois makes it to a bowl game, bringing his total compensation to $1.505 million.
The Illini, who haven't been to a bowl game since 2001, are one win away from bowl eligibility this season.
Zook and athletic director Ron Guenther began talking about the possibility of a contract before the season began. At that point, Zook had four wins to show for his two years in Champaign-Urbana.
Illinois is now 5-2 and 3-1 in the Big Ten.
Zook said he and Guenther -- a former football coach -- are talking about possible raises for Illinois' nine assistant coaches. Decisions about those raises will happen after the season.
"The one great thing about Coach Guenther is that he understands this profession," Zook said. "He knows that for us to continue to do things that we need to do, we need to do everything in our power to keep our coaches here."
Zook said he tells potential recruits that they'll play in the same system -- same offense, defense and special teams -- all four years at Illinois, a pledge he says he couldn't think about keeping without job security.
The Illini lost 10-6 at Iowa last week, knocking them out of the AP Top 25. They a have tough game Saturday against No. 24 Michigan at home and face No. 1 Ohio State on the road next month.
Illinois also faces Ball State, Minnesota and Northwestern.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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