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Mike Phair, Nathan Scheelhaase leave Illinois football, accept new jobs

Lovie Smith has new positions to fill on his staff.

Northwestern v Illinois

Illinois defensive line coach Mike Phair left the program Thursday to accept a job with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. He will be serving in the same position.

Phair spent three years with the Illini’s defensive line and as the run game coordinator. While the Illini have struggled as a team over those years, winning only 10 total games, Phair has done an exceptional job in developing NFL-ready defensive linemen like Jihad Ward, Dawuane Smoot, Carroll Phillips and James Crawford.

Phair was not the only member of Illinois’ coaching staff who left the program Thursday.

Former Illini QB Nathan Scheelhaase will be joining Iowa State’s program as its running backs coach. Scheelhaase had been an offensive analyst for head coach Lovie Smith after joining the staff under Tim Beckman.

Illinois hired two new assistants last week. Rod Smith was hired as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach while Corey Patterson is the team’s new tight ends coach.