Disch leaves Illinois for coordinator post

Illinois linebackers coach Dan Disch is leaving the program to become defensive coordinator at Southern Miss.

Disch has served on Ron Zook's staff since 2004, first at Florida and then at Illinois, where he coached special teams and outside linebackers from 2005-06. Disch then served as Illinois' co-defensive coordinator alongside Curt Mallory from 2007-09, but both men were demoted following the 2009 season as Illinois brought in Vic Koenning.

This seems like a good move for Disch, who can become a coordinator again and work in the southeast, an area he knows well. Koenning did very well in his first season at Illinois, so there isn't much opportunity to move up.

Disch could be a significant loss for Illinois because of his recruiting skills, particularly in Florida, where he coached high school football from 1981-2003. He also helped mold standout linebackers at Illinois like All-American J Leman, Brit Miller and Martez Wilson.

His replacement inherits some promising players but will need to replace both Wilson and Nate Bussey, the team's top two tacklers in 2010.

It'll be interesting to see who Zook hires and whether Disch's successor also has ties to Florida and the southeast.