Butler's Stevens turns down Illinois coaching job

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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.



  • Great coach and person
    I just have to say that in these days of "go for the biggest paycheck and the most notoriety" Brad Stevens deserves to be commended. He made a multi-year commitment to my alma mater and he's being true to his word.

    Thank you for a great season, Coach Stevens. Looking forward to seeing you on the floor with the dawgs next year!
  • Yes, Illini
    How low the program has become? It is a mid level school in the Big Ten, and has never been anything more (Sorry, Jack Trudeau). It is not Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Michigan, not even Purdue, or Iowa...what is funny is it is not even Wisconsin anymore, and they were the laughing stock of the league in the 70's and 80's, an automatic win. The truth is: 1)Your athletic director has likely allowed his ego to get in the way, has to have his own guy, so you better hope he is right about whoever he selects; 2) you will never get another guy like Bill Self, he got out of there as fast as possible...Weber was about as good as you can do, he did get to the final game once with Self's players, and; 3) where did you get Weber from by the way? Oh yeah, that's right...Southern Illinois in the MVC...now you are yawning about a guy from Ohio U? The MAC is probably as good as you can do. How is this situation any different than when Weber got hired? You need to be realistic about your school, I mean please, your most succesful basketball coach ever looked like Mel Brooks ...the two best candidates turned you down to stay at Butler and VCU...those are mid-majors, just like SIU, one of them is in Richmond, Virginia for heavens sake. What does that say about your school? Sounds like really smart (can you say Shaka?) coaches know what everyone else knows...your school is a graveyard where the alummni and athletic department have unrealistic expectations and delusions of grandeur (Football Coaches know that too, as your AD, replacing Ron Zook, who was the head coach at Florida with...wait for it...Tim Beckman, from Toledo, and Toledo is in what league? The MAC? Surely not...I think Toledo played a bowl game in a parking lot in Detroit last year) Bruce Weber is an excellent coach who will get hired at some mid major and make the tournament every other year until he retires (he'd make a good talking head if it were not for that voice)...you were lucky to have him, but of course you were not satified with making the tournament every year. If you are lucky enough to get John Groce, you should thank the stars above, because he is better than you should expect to get.
    By the way, I believe Mike Thomas was the AD at Cincinnati before he got silly and came to Illinois to cash a bigger check...I believe he hired a couple of coaches there that no one was very excited about at the time...Brian Kelly and Mick Cronin (and Butch Jones after Kelly left)...those two guys have done pretty well last time I looked, so even though Thomas may be on an ego trip, or too passionate about finding "his own guy", his track record says he can find guys who can get it done. Don't yawn yet...the worst that can happen to you is that you can be about the same as you have always been, a most of the time pretender in a league of big boys...
  • Excited!!!
    Wow, the coach from Ohio Univ. I's so excited - Y A W N - How low the program has become.

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