Illinois' Mallory leaves to lead Akron's D

After finishing as a finalist for Central Michigan's head-coaching job, Illinois defensive backs coach Curt Mallory secured his next best option.

Mallory, demoted from his post as Illinois co-defensive coordinator after the 2009 season, will become Akron's new defensive coordinator, The (Champaign) News-Gazette is reporting. Mallory told the newspaper that he wanted to continue coaching in a coordinator role, and new Akron head coach Rob Ianello will give him the chance.

"I thought I really had a good chance [at the Central Michigan job], but it didn't work out," Mallory said. "That's OK. So you just move on to the next one."

Mallory, the son of former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory, has been at Illinois since 2005, first as defensive backs coach and then sharing the coordinator duties with Dan Disch. Though Mallory survived Ron Zook's staff overhaul at Illinois, he would have been serving under a new coordinator, Vic Koenning. Also, Zook tried to bring Penn State's Larry Johnson as defensive coordinator last year, so it's hard to blame Mallory for looking elsewhere.

The big question is whether Disch remains on Illinois' staff as linebackers coach. Disch is one of Zook's top recruiters, especially in the state of Florida, but it wouldn't be a stretch to see him depart as well.

Mallory will be the sixth assistant Zook must replace since the end of the 2009 season.