Illinois Announces Football Coaching Moves

Byrd Steps Away from Illini Program; Davis and Lindsey Named to Staff


CHAMPAIGN, ILL – Illinois Head Football Coach Lovie Smith announced several changes on the Fighting Illini coaching staff today.


Defensive passing game coordinator and safeties coach Gill Byrd has chosen to step away from the program.


“The Byrd family loves the Smith family,” Byrd said. “As Christians, my wife and I have always functioned under the principle that you finish what you started. Because of the priority that God places on the family and because of an illness in our family, we believe our time is up here in Champaign-Urbana. I would like to thank Lovie and everyone at the University of Illinois for the great time we’ve had while in Champaign-Urbana. The future is bright for both the Byrds and the University of Illinois football program.”


Byrd coached at Illinois for two seasons after working with Smith for the St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


“Gill Byrd is like a brother to me,” Lovie Smith said. “We have coached together at four different stops and he has had an incredible influence on the teams and players at each place he’s been. As good a coach as he is on the field, Gill is even a better person. I hope for nothing but the best for Gill and his family. We will miss him greatly around our program.”


Joining the Illinois staff this offseason will be Alfred Davis, coaching defensive tackles, and Jimmy Lindsey, coaching defensive ends. With the departure of Byrd, Keynodo Hudson will coach all defensive backs after coaching cornerbacks in 2019.


Davis comes to Illinois following two seasons at Hutchinson Community College where he had been promoted to associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator. Davis was a graduate assistant coach at Arkansas for the 2014-16 seasons. During his playing career as a defensive tackle at Arkansas from 2008-12, he made 78 total tackles, five tackles for loss and one quarterback sack. A native of College Park, Ga. (Banneker HS), also served as a volunteer coach at Fayetteville (Ark.) High School in 2013 before joining Arkansas as a graduate assistant.


Lindsey will coach Illini defensive ends after three seasons at Western Kentucky, where he also tutored defensive ends and served as the recruiting coordinator. A native of Norvan, N.C., Lindsey played linebacker at Chattanooga from 1996-99, where he started his coaching career as an assistant from 2000-01 before coaching linebackers there in 2002. He also has stops at Gardner-Webb, Miami (Ohio), Tennessee-Martin, Furman, Georgia Southern before the last three seasons at Western Kentucky. Lindsey has experienced four NFL minority coaching internships with the Cleveland Browns (2006), Detroit Lions (2008), Denver Broncos (2010) and San Diego Chargers (2013).


“Jimmy Lindsey and Alfred Davis fit our staff as well as you could hope for,” Smith said. “Coach Lindsey has coached some outstanding players during his career and is a proven recruiter at each of his previous coaching stops. He has a great reputation in coaching edge rushers and comes highly recommended.


“Coach Davis is a rising star in the coaching world,” Smith said. “The work he has already done at an early age is impressive and we are getting a high-energy coach who also should be an outstanding recruiter.”