Posted by Adam Jacobi
Illinois is on a four-game losing streak this season, and considering the Illini have to face Wisconsin this week, that could easily turn into a five-game losing streak. That's bad news for head coach Ron Zook, who came into the season firmly on the hot seat and who appeared to have turned off the flames by leading his team to a 6-0 start -- only to not win a game since.
Well, rumors about Zook's future are flying once again, and while they're not enough to merit an official report, they are enough to worry Zook to the point that at his weekly press conference, he stated ahead of time that he wouldn't be answering any questions about his future.
Said Zook at the press conference, "Before we get going, this thing's about our football team, it's about the team that we're playing, about the things going on with our football team. It's not about me, not about my future; I think our fans and our players deserve that. And if you feel compelled to talk about that, then my part will be over with."
Reporter Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune then asked Zook how he was keeping his players from being distracted by any rumors of his departure. Technically and logically, it satisfied Zook's criterion for asking a football-related question. In practice, however, it was enough for a good old-fashioned walk-out.
[Watch the video of Ron Zook storming out of the Illinois press conference here.]
Obviously, it's up to Zook how much he does and doesn't want to discuss, and Shannon knew what she was doing when she asked the question. But walking out of a press conference because of one question is still hardly the way to maintain a great deal of dignity and public pride in the midst of a losing streak. Listen to the questions, calmly decline to answer them each time. Take your lumps. "Be a man," in a football coach's parlance. Right?