Giants outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema is leaving the team to become the head coach at Illinois.
Bielema is leaving the Giants immediately and will attend the Illinois-Penn State game today.
Illinois fired head coach Lovie Smith last week and quickly turned its attention toward Bielema, who won three Big Ten championships at Wisconsin. He left Wisconsin for Arkansas and was unsuccessful there and has since been an NFL assistant, first with the Patriots and then with the Giants.
“Illinois and the Big Ten is home for me, and I can’t be any more excited about the opportunity in front of me with the Fighting Illini,” Bielema said in a statement. “We want to build a program that makes Illini Nation proud and regain the passion that I’ve seen when Illinois win.”
The 50-year-old Bielema was born and raised in Illinois.