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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Illinois hires Jon Tenuta to lead defense

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

Illinois announced the hiring of defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta and assistant coaches Luke Butkus and Chris Beatty on Tuesday.

Tenuta has been coaching for 31 seasons and spent the past two season as North Carolina State's linebackers coach. He was previously the defensive coordinator at Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Ohio State, among other stops.

Beatty was the wide receivers coach and offensive recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt this past season. He was previously West Virginia's running backs/slot receiver coaches and director of recruiting for three seasons. He also spent one season at Northern Illinois as its running backs coach in 2007.

Butkus, a former Illinois player, has spent the past five seasons in the NFL. He was the Seattle Seahawks' quality control assistant the past two seasons and was an assistant offensive line coach for the Chicago Bears for three years. He played center for the Illini from 1999-2001.

"John is considered one of the top defensive coaches in the nation and has a world of great experience that he will bring to Illinois," Illinois coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. "Chris is thought of as one of the top young coaches in the nation, especially as a recruiter. Luke obviously brings one of the great names in the history of football and the University of Illinois back to our program. He was a terrific player for the Illini and has worked very hard in the coaching profession to put himself in this position.

"Not only are all three of these men excellent coaches, they are outstanding individuals who will fit in extremely well here. All three will begin recruiting immediately as we look toward the national signing day on Feb. 1."

Illinois has three coaching spots, including offensive coordinator, remaining to be filled. Keith Gilmore, Alex Golesh and Mike Ward were previously named Beckman's assistant coaches.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.