Illinois football coach Bret Bielema tests positive for COVID-19, will not coach vs. Iowa

ByHarry Lyles ESPN logo
Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Illinois football coach Bret Bielema tested positive for COVID-19 and will not coach in Saturday's game at Iowa.

Bielema said in a statement that he had developed a breakthrough case of COVID-19.

"After developing mild symptoms yesterday, I was tested and unfortunately late Monday night tested positive for a breakthrough case of COVID-19. I'm disappointed that I will not be with our team this week when we travel to Iowa, but I'm grateful that I'm vaccinated and received the booster shot last week," Bielema said. "Going back to last spring and this fall, I have a set protocol for anyone on our staff who may be removed due to COVID, including myself as a head coach. Our players and coaches have prepared for 10 games already this year and today's news will just be a continuation of that process."

Bielema added that he will be "as present as possible" through technology and that assistant George McDonald will lead the team when Bielema cannot.

"George and I have had discussions before today if this situation would arise and I have full confidence in him and our staff in preparation for Iowa," Bielema said. "If all stays on the current path, I should be available and present for next week."

The Illini are coming off their second ranked win of the season against Minnesota two weeks ago, a 14-6 road victory.

Bielema, who was hired by Illinois in December 2020, has led the Illini to a 4-6 record this season.