With Koenning and Chris Cosh as co-coordinators, the Wildcats' defense was 16th in run defense (105.4 yards) and 48th in scoring defense (23.3) in 2009. It was 112th in run defense (217.7) and 110th in scoring (35.8) in 2008.
Koenning, who likes the 4-2-5 scheme, was paid $265,000 at Kansas State this year. He will be Illinois' second highest-paid assistant, behind offensive coordinator Paul Petrino, who will make $475,000 annually. Both have two-year deals that would make it costly for Illinois to make any major coaching changes in a year, even if the alumni and fan discontent with head coach Ron Zook continues.
Koenning previously was defensive coordinator in 2005-08 at Clemson, which finished in the top 25 in scoring defense, total defense, and pass efficiency defense in each of his four seasons there. Koenning will replace co-coordinators Curt Mallory and Dan Disch, who have been given position-coach assignments on the Illinois defense.