Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Nov. 4, 2018

Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Nov. 4, 2018

This Thursday, as Brad Underwood enters his second season as head coach of the Illinois men's basketball team, he does so with a roster of players that features nine freshmen and sophomores, and a 2018-19 schedule stacked with 16 opponents that racked up at least 20 victories.

Of the 12 coaches who've preceded Underwood at the helm, only Gene Bartow didn't return for a second campaign.

Seven men registered at least one more victory in year two than they did in year one, but no one showed more improvement than Bruce Weber. Not only did the 2004-05 Illini win an NCAA-record 37 games, it earned Weber consensus National Coach of the Year honors.

Here are the Illini basketball coaches who improved the most from their first to their second season:

Coach, Record in Year 1, Record in Year 2, +/-

Bruce Weber, 26-7 (2003-04), 37-2 (2004-05), +11

Harv Schmidt, 11-13, (1967-68), 19-5 (1968-69), +8

Harry Combes, 15-5, (1947-48), 21-4 (1948-49), +6

Frank Winters, 11-7, (1920-21) 14-5 (1921-22), +3

Lou Henson, 14-13, (1975-76), 16-14 (1976-77), +2

Craig Ruby, 9-6, (1922-23), 11-6 (1923-24), +2

Lon Kruger, 22-10, (1996-97), 23-10 (1997-98), +1

Bill Self, 27-8, (2000-01), 26-9 (2001-02), -1

Ralph Jones, 10-6, (1912-13), 9-4 (1913-14), -1

John Groce, 23-13 (2012-13), 20-15 (2013-14), -3

Doug Mills, 14-4 (1936-37), 9-9 (1937-38), -5

Brad Underwood, 14-18 (2017-18), N/A (2017-18), N/A

Gene Bartow, 8-18 (1974-75), N/A (did not return for a second season), N/A

Illini Birthdays:

Today: Delano Ware, football (18)

Monday: Jason Eberhart, football (40)

Tuesday: Ty McMillin, football (66)

Wednesday: Mike Levanti, wrestling (68)

Thursday: Nathan Scheelhaase, football (28)

Friday: Mekelayaie Brown, track & field

Saturday: Kristin Slaughter, track & field (20)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter@B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.

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