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Illinois has extended the contract of coach Lovie Smith for two years through 2023 after the Illini finished his third season with four victories.

 

Athletic director Josh Whitman announced the deal Sunday. Whitman hired Smith, the former NFL head coach who led the Bears to the Super Bowl, soon after he was named AD in 2016.

 

Smith is 9-27 in three seasons with the Illini and 4-23 in the Big Ten, but there were clear signs of progress this season for an inexperienced team that went 2-10 and winless in the Big Ten in 2017. Smith's original deal was for six years and $21 million.

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