Illinois Hands Bret Bielema Lucrative Extension

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Illinois football coach Bret Bielema has agreed to a substantial extension.

Following an 8-4 season, Bielema and Fighting Illini have agreed to a six-year extension that will run through the 2028 season, according to an announcement from the program.

His new deal bumps his 2023 salary up to $6 million, and he can earn annual retention bonuses of $500,000 and scheduled raises, according to 247Sports.

Bret Bielema’s new extension runs through the 2028 season. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

Illinois locking up Bret Bielema makes a lot of sense.

The 2022 season was the best season for the Fighting Illini since 2007. It’s been 15 years since Illinois won at least 8 games in a season.

When you turn around a program, you get paid. That’s how college football works. Bret Bielema turned Illinois into a winning program in year two, and he’s now getting a serious bag of money.

Illinois Will Be Without Bret Bielema Because Covid
Bret Bielema agrees to an extension with Illinois. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

In two years under Bielema’s leadership, Illinois is 13-11. Not great, but not terrible. Most importantly, you can see the team trending in the right direction.

In the five years before his arrival, Illinois went a pathetic 17-40. The team was a doormat for Big Ten opponents.

Now, Illinois is at least competitive. They marched into Madison and blew the doors off against the Badgers. That’s not something anyone could have envisioned just a couple years ago.

Bret Bielema’s new salary is $6 million. (Photo by James Black/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Fighting Illini have found their man, and he’s now locked up for the foreseeable future. Fans of the program should be very happy. Big Ten West opponents should definitely not be.

Written by David Hookstead

David is a college football fanatic who foolishly convinces himself every season the Wisconsin Badgers will finally win a national title. Has been pretending to be a cowboy ever since the first episode of Yellowstone aired.

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