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Illinois Hires Clint Sintim as New Outside Linebacker Coach: Key Details

Northwestern Wildcats running back Cam Porter tries to elude the tackle of Illinois Fighting Illini linebacker Dylan Rosiek
© Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

After spending just one season with the Fighting Illini, outside linebacker coach Charlie Bullen left the team in February for the same position with the New York Giants. Prior to arriving in Illinois in 2023, Bullen had spent the previous 11 seasons coaching in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins (2012-2018) and Arizona Cardinals (2019-2022).

Illinois announced on March 10 that Clint Sintim was hired as the new outside linebacker coach at Illinois. Sintim spent the previous four years at his alma mater, Virginia, where he coached the defensive line (2020-2021) and linebackers (2022-2023). He also has previous coaching experience at Richmond and Delaware, focusing on the defensive side of the ball. Sintim was a four-year letter winner at Virginia and was named a second-team All-ACC selection his senior year in 2008. He was drafted in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the New York Giants and played four seasons in the NFL before his career was cut short due to injuries.

why Clint Sintim has to be the right hire

This hire is crucial for head coach Bret Bielema, given that the defense experienced a decline in the 2023 season compared to the previous two seasons since he took over in December 2020. Given Bielema's defensive background, having served as a defensive coordinator at both Kansas State and Wisconsin, this is the side of the ball he expects his teams to excel in every season.


Points Allowed Per Game (Big Ten Rank)


29.4 (12th)


12.8 (1st)


21.9 (6th)

While Sintim will be expected to improve the outside linebacker play, his value needs to be felt most in recruiting. Bielema is aware of this, as evident by his initial comments about the hire:

Coach Sintim's experiences as a player at Virginia, then with the New York Giants, and now in coaching, will bring tremendous value to our team, as well as our recruiting in the state of Illinois and the East Coast. He will be a great addition to our Illini football famILLy. - bret bielema

Time will tell if Bielema's hire leads to improvements in the Illini's outside linebacker play and recruiting efforts.


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