Improved Illinois extends contract of OC Barry Lunney Jr.

Getty Images

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. has agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2025 season, the school announced.

Lunney, who is earning $675,000 this year, will be paid $800,000 in 2023 and $825,000 each of the following two years.

Coach Bret Bielema in January hired Lunney away from UTSA, where he was offensive coordinator and associate head coach. Lunney previously worked on Bielema’s staff at Arkansas.

The 21st-ranked Illini (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) are averaging better than 83 yards more per game this season, the biggest improvement in the Big Ten by more than 20 yards.

Illinois features the nation’s leading rusher in Chase Brown, the No. 2 quarterback in completion percentage in Tommy DeVito, and an offensive line that is up for the Joe Moore Award as the nation’s top unit.

Illinois is in first place in the Big Ten West heading into its home game against Purdue on Saturday.

“Coach Lunney has had a huge impact in his time here directing our offense,” Bielema said. “He has provided an excitement for our offensive players and coaches in the building every day since he came in. The opportunities he has provided our players through his efficient scheme has been vital for the success of our program as we set new expectations going forward.”

Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey suspended after arrest

Saul Young/News Sentinel/USA TODAY NETWORK

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Missouri linebacker Chad Bailey was suspended from the team after he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, the team said.

The 23-year-old, who was a team captain last season, was booked at about 2:45 a.m. and released after posting $500 bond, according to online records from the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are aware of the situation involving Chad Bailey,” Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He’s been suspended according to Department of Athletics policy. We have high expectations for all of our student-athletes, on and off the field, and we will follow all departmental and campus policies.”

Bailey was Mizzou’s third-leading tackler with 57 stops last season. He started all 11 games he played, missing two with an injury. He’ll be a sixth-year senior this fall after opting to return for his final year of eligibility, the Post-Dispatch reported.

The Missouri student-athlete handbook says any athlete who is arrested must serve a minimum one-week suspension.

Bailey was pulled over at about 1 a.m. not far from the Columbia campus for an expired license plate and lane violation, a police statement said. Bailey told the officer he had consumed alcohol and then performed poorly on a field sobriety test, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Nebraska’s leading rusher Anthony Grant suspended indefinitely

Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska opened spring practice with running back Anthony Grant suspended indefinitely to work on academics and other issues, first-year coach Matt Rhule announced.

Grant led the team in rushing with 915 yards and six touchdowns last season. He also caught 18 passes for 104 yards.

“Working on academics and general things. Nothing bad other than just our standards as a program,” Rhule said. “That will be day by day. Good kid. Just have to get him going in the right direction.”

Rhule said kick returner and reserve receiver Tommi Hill also is suspended. He did not specify a reason.

Backup tight ends Chris Hickman and James Carnie and reserve cornerback Tyreke Johnson left the team.