Lovie Smith started popping up in the news in August for a couple of reasons. One, he’s being called out for two disappointing seasons as the head football coach of the University of Illinois. This is big news because Smith signed a 6-year, $29 million deal with Illinois in 2016, and with a track record including leading the Chicago Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, they were hoping for a little more than 5-19 in his first two seasons. And two, there have been reports circulating that he’s miserable at Illinois and may not end up finishing out his contract.
But most important is what he showed up with at a BTN Press Conference in August. What do you see in this photo?
That beard is absolutely awe-inspiring! This new look kicked up some interest in the early days of the season. Here was our favorite Tweet:
So impressed were his fans, that the first 5000 UI students who attended the season's first game played at home received an incredible Lovie Smith replica beard.
For the team’s season opener, played against Kent State, the school had a special plan in mind to honor the coach. The school stated, “During the offseason, the legend of the Lovie beard has grown larger than life”, and what better way to commemorate it than to hand out replicas to the students?
We might need to get our hands on one of these.
After last season’s 2-10 record, hopefully for Illinois Lovie Smith’s brilliant beard will be the sign for a stronger season to come. If not, this team still wins our vote for the best bearded coach in college football.