Curt Mallory is leaving the Illinois football program to become the defensive coordinator at Akron.
Mallory served five seasons on Ron Zook's staff, including the final three as co-defensive coordinator. In December, Illinois hired Vic Koenning as its new defensive coordinator, with Mallory and Dan Disch scheduled to return as position coaches.
Mallory had been a finalist for the head coaching position at Central Michigan. But the school hired Dan Enos on Tuesday.
"I thought I really had a good chance, but it didn't work out," Mallory said. "That's OK. So you just move on to the next one."
Mallory wanted to continue working as a defensive coordinator. New Akron coach Rob Ianello provided that opportunity.
"We recruited against each other," Mallory said. "I've known him for a long time, but really got to know him well just recently."
Mallory isn't new to the MAC. He worked seven seasons in the league, coaching at Ball State and Central Michigan.
"Obviously, the competition phenomenal," Mallory said.
Mallory said it will be difficult to leave Champaign-Urbana. His wife, Lori, is from Decatur.
"It's been awesome," Mallory said. "I absolutely love it here. It's a great place. It was a tremendous time."