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CHAMPAIGN — Lovie Smith is losing two of his University of Illinois football coaches.

Mike Phair, the run game coordinator and defensive line coach, is leaving to join the rebuilt coaching staff of the Indianapolis Colts. Phair has NFL experience with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears and Seattle Seahawks.

Phair is expected to be the Colts’ new defensive line coach.

Also, former Illini quarterback and offensive analyst Nathan Scheelhaase is leaving to join the coaching staff at Iowa State.

Scheelhaase was bypassed when Smith filled the newly created 10th assistant coaching position by hiring St. Louis Trinity Catholic High School coach Cory Patterson.

Scheelhaase will coach running backs at Iowa State after Louis Ayeni left to join Pat Fitzgerald’s staff at Northwestern. Scheelhaase coached running backs at Illinois for Bill Cubit before Cubit was let go to make room for Smith.

Smith retained Scheelhaase, but not as one of his full-time assistant coaches.

 Follow Mark Tupper on Twitter: @MarkTupper


Sports Columnist

Sports columnist for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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