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Ohio’s Groce hired to replace Weber at Illinois

 

John Groce (courtesy of MAC & Ohio athletics)

University of Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas on Thursday announced that John Groce would be the Illini’s 17th head basketball coach.

He replaces Bruce Weber, who endured another disappointing season and the fan base and administration had grown tired of underachieving Illini teams year-after-year.

GroceĀ  takes the Illinois job after four seasons as head coach at Ohio University, where he led the Bobcats to an 85-56 overall record as well as Mid-American Conference Tournament titles and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2010 and 2012.

Ohio was the story of the year’s Tournament, advancing to the Sweet 16 as a No. 13 seed with victories over No. 4 seed Michigan followed by No. 12 seed South Florida. The Bobcats finished just short of the Elite Eight, falling to top-seed North Carolina in overtime in the regional semifinal. This year marked just the second time in Ohio’s school history and first since 1964 that the Bobcats won multiple games in the NCAA Tournament. Ohio finished the 2012 season with a school-record 29 wins and was known for its pressure defense, ranking second nationally in turnover percentage and third in steals percentage.

A former assistant caoch at Ohio State under Thad Matta, Groce has recorded a total of three wins during his last two NCAA appearances, as Ohio also made noise in the 2010 Tournament. Playing in the school’s first NCAA Tournament game in five seasons, the Bobcats received a No. 14 seed and defeated No. 3 seed Georgetown. With the 2010 and 2012 NCAA performances, Ohio became just the sixth school ever to win Tournament games as both a 13 and 14 seed.

Groce, who is 40, has a total of 19 years in the coaching profession and has been part of teams that have made 16 postseason appearances. His record in 15 years as an assistant was an impressive 349-156, giving him a combined record of 434-212 over his 19 years.

Reports say that Groce was offered $1.2 million a year on a 5 to 6 year contract and the most Ohio could offer to keep him was $500,000 annually up from the $300,000 he was paid this year.

 

Info compiled from Illinois & Ohio athletics news

 

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