Zook hires two assistants; Heffner stays at Lafayette

By Courtney Linehan

The Illinois football team added its seventh and eighth coaches this week, with the hiring of Ed Zaunbrecher and Randy Melvin.

Zaunbrecher joined the staff Thursday. He worked with Illinois head coach Ron Zook for three seasons as the quarterbacks coach at Florida and has experience as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Marshall, LSU and Wake Forest. He has also spent time in the Big Ten, coaching at Michigan State from 1991 to 1993 and at Purdue 1977-1979.

“He has been very successful everywhere he has coached and his credentials speak for themselves,” Zook said in a press release. “He is a tremendous coach with great knowledge of our offensive system.”

Zook announced Monday that Melvin, a defensive line coach, would be joining the Illinois staff.

Melvin has both NCAA and NFL coaching experience, having worked with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Patriots in recent years. He also served as Purdue’s defensive line coach 1997-1999.

Melvin has strong ties to central Illinois: he started three years at Eastern Illinois and coached at Urbana High School in 1982 and EIU 1988-1994.

“As an Illinois native, he has great respect for the University of Illinois and its football tradition,” Zook said in a press release.

But while the Illini added two new coaches, they also lost one. Bob Heffner, who had accepted a position at Illinois, decided to remain at Lafayette College.

Heffner cited personal reasons for rethinking his commitment to Illinois.

“I really believe Illinois has hired the right guy for the job and a great group of assistants,” he said in a statement. “I would have loved to be a part of their future success.”