AD gives Groce vote of confidence

AD gives Groce vote of confidence

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman announced on WDWS on Saturday morning that Illini men's basketball coach John Groce will continue to lead the program.

"I think it's important today that folks understand that John Groce is going to continue to be our basketball coach," Whitman told Loren Tate and Michael Kiser. "He's a first-class individual and an excellent leader. He's a student of basketball and leadership and I feel really comfortable with the leadership he's given our guys."

Whitman's comments come a day before the Illini (13-17) wrap up the regular season with a game at Penn State. 

Groce's job has come under fire in the past year, with the team in position to finish below .500 for just the third time since the 1998-99 season and miss the NCAA tournament for the third straight year. Two players, Darius Paul and Leron Black, arrested in the past seven months have also cast the program in a negative light.

The beginnings of a program-changing recruiting class in 2017, though, has cooled off Groce's seat. The Illini currently have the No. 4 2017 recruiting class in the nation with three-star guard Javon Pickett and four-star guard Da'Monte Williams, the son of former Illini point guard Frank Williams, committed. Illinois is also the apparent leader for five-star center and No. 10 overall national prospect Jeremiah Tilmon.

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Moonpie wrote on March 05, 2016 at 9:03 am

No doubt that Ancient Apologist Tate danced in his undies and silly beret because the new AD took Tate's marching orders to keep Coach Grimace around so they can miss yet another NIT.

As for leadership--really? Whitman admires Coach Grimace's leadership? Gee, where has that leadership taken them? To two NITs and then a miss altogether. Or will the NIT actually take such an abysmal record?

That's like admiring Trey-Bombing Tate for his good nature toward fans.

787 wrote on March 05, 2016 at 9:03 am

... and in other news, the renewal rate for men's basketball season tickets for next year, just tanked.  Maybe if they stopped charging nearly $50 for a seat in C section, for a team that can barely beat Rutgers (who is winless).   Face it folks, we nearly LOST to winless Rutgers.  THAT close to giving Rutgers their only win of the season so far.

In all fairness, Whitman has PLENTY to do.   He needs to find a football coach AND a women's basketball coach first.   Once he accomplishes that, he can fire Groce, after the conclusion of next year's season, which will finish well under .500, and near the bottom of the Big Ten, yet again.

Gordon wrote on March 05, 2016 at 9:03 am

pitiful, pitiful,pitiful

Gordon wrote on March 05, 2016 at 9:03 am

pitiful, pitiful,pitiful

stingray1970 wrote on March 05, 2016 at 10:03 am
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In other words, U of I doesn't have the money to hire anyone else.

illini82 wrote on March 05, 2016 at 11:03 am

Whitman is going all in on keeping Groce so he can reel in Tilmon and Goodwin. Better get at least one of those guys. Whitman I think also realizes that he doesn't have the time to network, make contacts and make a proper evaluation for a replacement. Also don't forget we still don't have a Chancellor. The instability will limit good candidates.

A perfect storm to keep a coach that 90% of other power 5 schools would fire at this point.

Look for more empty seats next year at SFC. but cheap tickets and plenty of parking!


I do have an idea for a T shirt:

On the front:  Fightless Illini

On the back:  The University doesn't care so why should fans.


Would be a big seller.

Objective Reporter wrote on March 05, 2016 at 4:03 pm

The right call was made on both counts; football and basketball.  Cubit was a lame duck anyway and Groce will get it done.

Tyronius P HoggLegg wrote on March 08, 2016 at 10:03 am

Groce will get what done???? It sure hasn't been getting Illinois into the NCAA tournament...

packwack wrote on March 05, 2016 at 5:03 pm


Amazing this mess will continue. 

Illini1973 wrote on March 05, 2016 at 7:03 pm
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The answer for BB is Deon Thomas.  You think any recruits mentioned would decommit or remove us from their list if he were HC?  If so, I have some ocean front property in Belleville I can let go very cheaply.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on March 06, 2016 at 6:03 pm
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Geez, talk about setting your sights low.   Maybe he can bring that winning attitude from UIC with him!   Oh wait....

I know that, for some reason, being a former Illini is the #1 qualification in the eyes of some fans, but c'mon.   As an assistant coach, sure.

Perhaps bury the hatchet and hire Bruce Pearl?

PSL wrote on March 06, 2016 at 12:03 am

I'm going to ask the question we're all thinking about: Who on the current basketball staff wants the old racist mascot back, and who knows that it's dumb and bad and an embarassment to this fine insitution?

Objective Reporter wrote on March 06, 2016 at 5:03 pm


Objective Reporter wrote on March 08, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Tyronneous - Give him a chance to have a full team before calling for his head.  Yes, he's most likely on a short leash, but it wouldn't appropriate to fire him with so many guys injured.