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Zook Says Illini Just A Few Wins Short Of Success
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Hours after he was fired as football coach at Illinois Ron Zook is thanking the university and his players for what he called ''seven special years.''

Zook says he thinks the Illini aren't far from being a good program and that they just failed to finish a few winnable games.

He spoke Sunday at a packed news conference.

Illinois opened this season 6-0 then finished it with six straight losses, including a 27-7 defeat at Minnesota on Saturday.

Zook is 34-51 at Illinois. He took the 2007 team to the Rose Bowl and lost to USC. Last season's squad beat Baylor in the Texas Bowl.

The Illini could still go to a bowl game. It would be their first back-to-back bowl appearances since 1991 and 1992.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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