Defensive co-coordinator Dan Disch is turning down an offer to become defensive coordinator at South Florida. A longtime Jacksonville, Fla., high school coach before he joined Ron Zook’s staff at Florida, Disch told Zook Wednesday morning that he wants to remain at Illinois.
“Dan was offered the job, but he is staying,” Illini spokeswoman Cassie Arner said. “When somebody offers you a coordinator position, you have to listen. But this shows how loyal Dan is to the program. He loves his players here, and his family really likes living here.”
When Zook offered the defensive coordinator job to Penn State assistant Larry Johnson in January, that raised eyebrows about the status of Disch and fellow co-coordinator Curt Mallory, who was a finalist for the head-coaching job at Miami of Ohio. But sources say Disch and Mallory understood that there was no chance to lure Johnson without the coordinator post, and that Johnson’s East Coast recruiting and defensive-line background would have been great additions.
Barring any more shockers, Zook’s staff is set for 2009, with three new assistants: Offensive coordinator Mike Schultz (from TCU), offensive line coach Joe Gilbert (from Houston) and defensive line coach Keith Gilmore (from Cincinnati).
Schultz replaces Mike Locksley, who is New Mexico’s new head coach; Gilbert moves in for Eric Wolford, who took a lucrative offer from South Carolina, and Gilmore replaces Tom Sims, who was fired.