"I want to thank Josh Whitman for the opportunity to join the Fighting Illini family and look forward to working with him to build a championship program".
Brad Underwood of Oklahoma State, who has taken his team to the NCAA Tournament all four seasons as a Division I head coach, is the pick to take over the IL basketball program. Underwood's teams averaged 29.7 wins, reached the tournament in each of his three seasons with the Lumberjacks by winning the Southland Conference Tournament and advanced in two of those years.
IL fired John Groce last Saturday after five seasons and just one NCAA tournament appearance.
Just spoke with an Oklahoma State official and was told Brad Underwood flew back with the team after the MI game Friday, landing at 8 pm CT.
Brad Underwood is leaving Oklahoma State to replace John Groce, the school announced Saturday. He was the Dodge City Community College coach from 1988 through 1992 before spending the next 11 seasons on Jim Kerwin's coaching staff at Western Illinois. "Please join me in welcoming Brad and the Underwood family to Champaign-Urbana and the University of IL".
Prior to his one season at Oklahoma State, Underwood spent three seasons at Stephen F. Austin where he compiled an 89-14 record, and three NCAA tournament appearances. All of that gave Underwood a solid foundation when he finally became a Division I head coach at Stephen F. Austin in 2013.
Oklahoma State went through an up-and-down season in Stillwater.
Illinois' new identity will be executing at an elite level on offense, improving and playing hard on defense, and never giving in - which is what happened this past season at Oklahoma State. However, during my time at Western Illinois, I always saw the Illinois coaching job as one of the truly best in the nation. "But from the outside looking in, it looked to me like OSU and Brad fit very, very well".
Underwood was to make $1.1 in 2018 and escalate up to $1.6 million by 2021, a low figure in the Big 12.
On the periphery was Kansas State. A source close to the program said Underwood will be retaining assistant coach Jamall Walker, who is now leading the Illini in the NIT as interim coach. But I like K-State.