Illini hiring Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood
- Author: Loretta Pittman Mar 19, 2017,
Mar 19, 2017, 0:41
Underwood led the Pokes to a 20-13 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season in Stillwater after signing a five-year $6.3 million contract with OSU last March.
Underwood had taken the Oklahoma State position after three successful seasons at Stephen F. Austin.
ESPN.com reported Saturday afternoon Underwood had been hired at IL.
After Underwood told the team "we'll be back" in his post-game speech yesterday, the move came as a surprise to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys got off to a rough start to Big 12 play before rallying down the stretch to land an NCAA Tournament bid.
Underwood played his collegiate ball for Kansas State. IL has reportedly signed him to a six-year contract worth $3 million a season. However, during my time at Western Illinois, I always saw the Illinois coaching job as one of the truly best in the nation. "Brad's teams play a fast, aggressive style and show unyielding toughness", IL athletic director Josh Whitman said in a statement announcing the hire Saturday.
Multiple sources, including Jeff Goodman of ESPN, were reporting that Underwood is the choice of Illini AD Josh Whitman to replace John Groce, who was sacked last Saturday.
The Brad Underwood Era at Oklahoma State is over, less than a year before it began.
Underwood will replace John Groce in Champaign.
Assistant coach Jamall Walker has served as interim head coach while the school searched for a successor.
Illini Basketball's official Twitter account also confirmed the news, welcoming Underwood as the team's new head coach. Hardin-Simmons was the first college job for Lou Henson, the Fighting Illini's all-time winningest coach, and whose name permanently adorns the court at State Farm Center. The Sooners finished the 2016-2017 season ranked No. 1 in adjusted offensive efficiency per 100 possessions.
The coaching carousel in the Big Ten keeps moving.
Self, whose first Power 5 head-coaching job was at IL, described the news of Underwood's departure as a shock.