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REPORT: Illinois to hire Northern Illinois assistant Thad Ward as Running Backs Coach

Ward has spent the last three seasons with the Huskies.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

It appears that Lovie Smith has finalized his coaching staff. According to multiple reports, the Fighting Illini have hired Northern Illinois assistant Thad Ward as the new running backs coach. Ward spend the past three seasons as the Huskies' wide receivers coach.

Though nothing is official, Ward certainly seems to have confirmed the move via his Twitter account.

Ward played collegiately as a defensive back at Central Florida (1999-2001). His coaching career began in 2002, and he's held positions at Western Illinois (2005-10) and Western Michigan (2012) in addition to Northern Illinois.

Illinois' coaching staff is complete with this latest addition, but Lovie Smith will still be looking to hire a new strength coach and support staff members in the coming weeks.

Illinois Football Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Lovie Smith (Link)

Offensive Coordinator: Garrick McGee (Link)

Defensive Coordinator: Hardy Nickerson (Link)

Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach: Bob Ligashesky (Link)

Offensive Line Coach: Luke Butkus (Link)

Running Backs Coach: Thad Ward

Wide Receivers Coach: Andrew Hayes-Stoker (Link)

Defensive Line Coach: Mike Phair (Returning)

Linebackers Coach: Tim McGarigle (Returning)

Secondary Coach: Paul Williams (Returning)