Illini assistants do not boycott bowl game
There was no boycott of the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Saturday by Illinois assistant coaches, who were on the field during pre-game activities. They planned to carry out their in-game responsibilities, their former boss, Ron Zook, said.
Offensive-line coach Joe Gilbert had told Sports Illustrated's online edition that he, offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm and tight ends coach Chip Long were considering not coaching.
They wanted university officials to restore--or improve, depending on the interpretation--their severance-pay benefits. They originally were hired at Illinois with two-year contracts, but the two-year deals were not rolled over when they signed new contracts.
``If they want the bowl game to be coached,'' Gilbert said to SI.com this week, ``they better decide they want to treat us the right way.''
After speaking with some of his former assistants, Zook, who was fired on Nov. 27, told ESPN.com that there would be no boycott.
``They're going to coach,'' Zook said. ``They're frustrated. But they're going to coach. They know it's about the kids. But they were trying to make a point. They've got careers, family, all of those things. They're class guys. And it's important that everyone knows they're really good people.''
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