Tuesday March 8th, 2016

Indianapolis Colts assistant Andrew Hayes-Stoker is the new wide receivers coach for Illinois coach Lovie Smith, according to a source.

It’s a reunion for Hayes-Stoker and Smith, who worked together at both the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Hayes-Stoker worked in football operations and as an offensive assistant for the Bears from 2006–09 before becoming assistant wide receivers coach from ’10–12. Smith coached the Bears from ’04–12. Hayes-Stoker spent the past two seasons as the Buccaneers’ wide receivers coach during Smith’s tenure as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

Stoker was not retained by new Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter. He was hired by the Colts as assistant to the head coach in February.

In between his stints with the Bears and the Buccaneers, Hayes-Stoker coached running backs at Florida Atlantic in 2013. He also has prior college coaching experience as an offensive quality control graduate assistant at Texas A&M from ’05–06.

Hayes-Stoker played running back at TCU from 1999–2002, finishing his career with 99 carries for 418 yards with three touchdowns.

The savvy hiring of Smith was announced Monday by new Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman. Two days earlier, Whitman fired former Fighting Illini coach Bill Cubit, who had his tag as interim coach removed in late November in the midst of leading the program to a 5–7 record.

• STAPLES: Smith's hire invigorates Illinois, shows new AD's boldness

Smith, 57, was fired as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January after going 8–24 in two seasons, which included a 6–10 mark this past year. In his nine years with the Bears, Smith compiled an 81–63 record with a Super Bowl appearance in 2006 and three NFC North titles.

He last coached collegiately in 1995 as Ohio State’s defensive backs coach.

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