Butler's Stevens turns down Illinois coaching job

March 25, 2012

A person familiar with the basketball coaching search at the University of Illinois says the Illini are interested in talking to Ohio University's John Groce after being turned down by Brad Stevens of Butler University.

The person said Sunday that Illinois turned its attention to Groce after Stevens said he will stay at Butler. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the search to replace fired coach Bruce Weber is ongoing.

Stevens, who led Butler to back-to-back NCAA championship games, had reportedly been an Illini target after Shaka Smart elected to stay at Virginia Commonwealth.

Stevens says he is "happy and extremely grateful" to be at Butler.

Butler went 22-15 this season, missing the NCAA tournament but running Stevens’ record to 139-40 in five seasons with the school.

A message was left seeking comment from Ohio basketball spokesman Drew Wiseman.

Groce coached Ohio to a 29-7 record this season and a spot in the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. The Bobcats lost 73-65 to top-seeded North Carolina on Friday in one of the best games of the tournament.



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