Defensive Coordinator Vince Okruch
March 1, 2006
University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook announced today the hiring of Vince Okruch as the Illini defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Okruch brings 29 years of collegiate coaching experience to the position, including eight seasons as a defensive coordinator.
"I am very excited about bringing someone of Vince's caliber to this staff," Zook said. "We share a very similar philosophy about defensive play and he has a personality that will be well respected by the rest of this staff and our players. He has had success at the highest level of college football and that winning attitude will be a great advantage as we move forward with the progress of this program."
Okruch has spent 20-plus years coaching at BCS conference schools, including time at Colorado, Northwestern and Minnesota. He also begins his third stint in the Big Ten Conference. From 1985-91, he was a member of the Minnesota staff that went to two bowl games in 1985 and 1986. He worked for Gary Barnett at Northwestern University during a turnaround that involved two conference championships and a trip to the 1996 Rose Bowl. He then followed Barnett to Colorado where the Buffaloes went to three bowl games, including the 2001 Fiesta Bowl as the Big XII champions. He comes to Illinois after one season at Louisiana-Monroe where he served as the linebackers coach and as defensive coordinator in 2004 at Western Illinois.
"It's an honor to be associated with the University of Illinois and especially with Ron Zook's staff," Okruch said. "I am excited also about returning to the Big Ten. It took me only five minutes of meeting with Coach Zook to realize that this is the place I want to be. The energy surrounding the Illinois program at this time is contagious and is no doubt headed for success."
A 1977 graduate of Culver-Stockton College, Okruch earned four letters as both a quarterback and tight end, while also playing baseball. After completing a bachelor's degree in physical education, he went on to earn a master's degree at Northeast Missouri State in 1980.
He began his coaching career upon graduation in 1977 as defensive backs coach at Culver-Stockton and after completing his master's degree, he returned to become the head coach at his alma mater for three seasons.
The Buffalo, N.Y., native and his wife, Janet, have two children--a daughter, Taylor, and a son, Jordan.
THE OKRUCH FILE
2005 Louisiana-Monroe (linebackers) 2004 Western Illinois University (defensive coordinator) 1999-2003 Colorado University (defensive coordinator) 1997-98 Northwestern University (defensive coordinator) 1992-96 Northwestern University (defensive line) 1988-91 University of Minnesota (linebackers) 1986-87 University of Minnesota (running backs) 1985 University of Minnesota (graduate assistant) 1983-84 Colorado University (graduate assistant) 1980-82 Culver-Stockton College (head coach) 1978-79 Northeast Missouri State (graduate assistant) 1977 Culver-Stockton College (defensive backs)