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Tony Dungy on Lovie Smith: This is a sensational hire for Illinois

The future Hall of Fame coach has some glowing praise for Lovie Smith.

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Illinois officially hired Lovie Smith as their next head coach on Monday, and the news is making waves across the football world. Future Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy chimed in with some strong praise for the move, calling it a "sensational hire" for the Fighting Illini.

Here's his full comment:

"This is outstanding for the University of Illinois. If anyone asked me to identify someone from the NFL who would be great at coaching college football it would be Lovie Smith. He not only brings football expertise, but will help young men grow and have their best interest at heart. He is the type of coach I would want my sons to play for if they were playing college football. As an alum of the University of Minnesota, I'm not thrilled, but I'm happy for Illinois. This is a sensational hire. He's going to have moms and dads very excited to have their sons play for him and grow as people."

~ Tony Dungy, Former NFL Head Coach

Dungy and Smith are obviously very close. The duo worked together in Tampa Bay from 1996-2000, and they became the first African-American head coaches to appear in the Super Bowl; unfortunately for Chicago Bears fans, Dungy's Indianapolis Colts came out on top in 2006.

Cincinatti Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, and former Illinois head coach Ron Turner also commented on the Lovie Smith news. You can view their statements right here.

For more on this developing story, check out our Lovie Smith news feed.