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New York Giants hire Illinois assistant

Feb. 7—CHAMPAIGN — Illinois football coach Bret Bielema was able to hire Charlie Bullen away from the NFL last January to be the Illini's new outside linebackers coach and pass rush coordinator. The lure of the league was apparently too strong to keep Bullen in Champaign more than a single season, however.

The New York Giants announced Wednesday afternoon they had hired Bullen as their new outside linebackers coach. Bullen has coached almost exclusively in the NFL since his time as a student assistant and graduate assistant at Iowa from 2007-11. He spent seven years with the Miami Dolphins and then four with the Arizona Cardinals before taking the Illinois job.

Bullen's lone season with the Illini saw outside linebacker Seth Coleman earn All-Big Ten honorable mention recognition after finishing the 2023 campaign with six sacks to rank second in the conference. All six of Coleman's sacks came on the road — the most of any Power Five player during the regular season. Illinois' full outside linebacker rotation totaled 110 tackles, 16 1/2 tackles for loss and 10 1/2 sacks.

Bielema now has three open assistant coaching positions to fill. He already replaced cornerbacks coach Antonio Fenelus with new defensive backs coach and associate head coach David Gibbs. That leaves both linebackers coach positions open after Andy Buh was fired and Bullen departed and an open wide receivers coach spot after George McDonald left for Mississippi.