Klee: Jerrance won't be back with Illini

Klee: Jerrance won't be back with Illini

CHAMPAIGN – New head coach, new staff.

And a change of basketball scenery for Jerrance Howard.

Howard, the former Illinois player who recently completed his fifth season as an assistant coach, won't be on the new staff under head coach John Groce.

Groce and Howard met late Monday night and the decision to not retain Howard was finalized.

“Meeting with him, it was hard now. He loves this place," Groce said. "He played here. He's coached here. And that made it a little unique and different. His wife (Jessica) went to school here. So I had to take all of that into consideration. That's part of the reason it's taken me some time to make that decision. He was a very viable candidate.

“But at the end of the day, for me, the thing I was most comfortable with was starting with that clean slate. It's nothing against Jerrance. He's done a good job. I know he's going to do well regardless of where his life heads from here.”

Howard said Tuesday he has no ill feelings about the move. He simply was ready to know for certain and move forward with his career.

Given his recruiting successes, the 31-year-old Howard figures to have options as he pursues his next stop. There is a distinct possibility Howard will reunite with Bruce Weber at Kansas State.

Groce said he hopes to finalize his staff by Friday. The final pieces likely will be coaches that know Groce or have worked with him at past stops. Dustin Ford and Jamall Walker, who came with Groce from Ohio University, were hired last week as assistants.

Groce reiterated that completing his staff is about “finding the right fit” and that another assistant with a history of “player development” would be a priority. That is a strongsuit of Ford and Walker.

The Illinois staff is at work recruiting, as well. Illinois commitment Jalen James said Tuesday he is scheduled to be on campus for an unofficial visit Saturday. And Groce said the staff is actively pursuing high school prospects for the 2012 recruiting class. Crete-Monee senior Michael Orris currently is the only 2012 prospect signed to Illinois. Groce also said he is open to accepting a transfer if it is the right fit.

"I think everybody's in play right now, especially on that (frontcourt)," Groce said.

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Green Shirt wrote on April 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

That is strike one (and maybe strike two).  I believe this will come back to haunt us.

urbanaman wrote on April 10, 2012 at 8:04 pm

........and let the racial epithets begin!!!

twiggy354 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Everyone complaining: you guys realize a big problem with Weber was he was too loyal to people and as a result had a disjointed staff *cough* Wayne McClain *cough*.  It's refreshing to see a coach willing to go his own route and hire a staff that he is comfortable with rather than giving in to all you "loyal" fans and offering the job to who you think is best.  Give him time, I wish Jerrence the best, but it is never good for a new coach to keep a fired coach's assistant.  Who cares if he doesn't have any "Illinois guys",  his job is to coach, not please the overly "loyal" fans.

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

uh oh

AD and bball coach build as though it doesn't matter they are in Illinois. This is not Ohio.

I wish nothing but losses and a quick exit for the AD and coach. This is a mockery to all of us who supported this program for decades.

Go get'em Jerrance.

Illinois is clearly not Chicago's state school more than Kentucky, Kansas, Kansas St, Florida, or whoever.

Collatine wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

"I wish nothing but losses...." Wow. Guess that means you'll be rooting for whoever plays against Illinois, huh? You sure you're not an Iowa fan in disguise??  

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I'm a proud Illinois alum. Because I'm a proud alum, I refuse to support the new athletic director and his hires that were not based on merit. Mike Thomas thumbed his nose at all things Illinois. The AD is clueless on what makes Illinois a special place. 

I've gone to nearly every home football game since 1986. I canceled my season tickets and iFund donation. I'm not alone. Check out the empty seats next year. The message I've gotten from the AD and the message boards is the urban Illini are not a welcome part of the community. Fine. Message received loud and clear.

Collatine wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Obviously I didn't mean to insult you personally... But your statement that you wished losses on the program seemed extreme. You can't take message boards too seriously. I was once verbally assaulted, slammed, and insulted because I mentioned a particular tactic in an Illinois game and got the opponent wrong. Obviously I'm not a true fan, and so I haven't posted there since. 

I disagree with your assessment regarding Thomas' view of the urban areas. For instance, rather than attend the U of I women's volleyball championship game, he attended a meeting (I believe with donors) in Chicago. I thought THAT was an outrageous error in judgement, but apparently he had his priorities right! 

I'm still not sure why not rehiring Jerrance is interpreted as a decades-old insult to the urban areas, but I understand your passion. Personally, I found the Illini's performance in Chicago over the last few years a major insult! I hope your wish doesn't come true though. I prefer the Illini to win.

As for empty seats, nationwide attendance of football and basketball games has plummeted since 2008 in most (if not all) programs, so unless economic conditions drastically improve in the next 6 months, I'll judge the product on the field not JUST by the ticket sales but by their record. 

urbanaman wrote on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 am

What do you feel makes Illinois a special place, Doubting? I mean besides the aroma that wafts over from south farms...

Be honest, man. Aren't you sick and tired of, year after year, not knowing which Illini team is going to show up on any given night/afternoon? You look at MTs hires, and it's hard not to see that he's hiring guys that will expect some accountability from their players - they might even play as a "team." Holy shiz, that would be something novel on this campus!! From what I've read, Coach will suspend a kid at the drop of a hat if he's not "with the program." Didn't he kick their stud guard, Kinney, off the team for good a couple years ago?

The point is that we might start seeing some consistency out of our programs for a change. Might not happen overnight, but - speaking of the south farm's aroma - there's a big f-in' mess to clean up on BOTH sides of Kirby Ave. and MT feels like cleaning house is the best way to get that done. Maybe Jerrance can find a hc job somewhere. I hope he does! 

If the programs are still in the swamp after 2-3 years, hell, I'll get behind you to get Al Sharpton for AD but, until then, can't we at least give these guys a chance?

illini4fan wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Doubting i would consider you a non Illini fan if you are wishing for losses! Does that mean that if we start winning conference championships and going to the Final Four you would be upset? You just dont make any sense!   GO ILLINI!!!!!!

crackerman wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Give it a rest!

houstonillini84 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

would be nice for Groce to have some ties to UI roots, by hiring a former player or someone  affiliated with UI in the past. I understand the desire to get a fresh start, but there is also a need to build and maintain strong traditions at UI. Well, at least I think there is; I am not sure Groce sees it that way.

I agree with the previous poster (two posts up) too, in that having Jerrance back in the state recruiting for someone else within weeks is probably not a good thing for us. People say Groce is a good recruiter, well he sure better be, NOW, because guys like Jerrance and Weber have been building realtionships in Illinois for years.

Plus, the idea of Jerrance coaching somewhere like Kentucky or Kansas makes me sick. Like we need to give those guys a leg up in Illinois.

TheGallopingGhost77 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Although I am a Jerrance Howard fan, I think his importance to Illini b-ball is a little overblown. If you look at the Illini's record from 2008-2012 (Howard's tenure) it hasn't been too impressive, and it seemed like the players he recruited haven't blossomed into the stars they were proclaimed to be.  I think this is a good move for Jerrance though, and if he ever wants to be the head coach for the Orange and Blue he will most likely have to prove himself first at some other school. 

read the DI wrote on April 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

Finally, a voice of reason. Howard's biggest recruit -- Richmond -- was an absolute bust. Most of the others didn't pan out well, either. All this handwringing over whether this will come back to haunt us ignores the fact that on his watch, we slipped from a Top 10 team to ... whatever the heck we are now. We lost with him, we can lose without him. Groce is right: it's time to wipe the slate clean.


UIUCHoopFan wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

And just like that....we're a Volleyball school.  Not retaining JHow 25 is a HUGE mistake.  I hope "the important people" are happy.  In a few years the NIT will look good.  Watch what you wish for Illini fan base......

With the coaching pedigree of Thad Matta behind him in my opinion we've entered the age of "If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin".  I don't cheer for cheaters.  The first whiff of impropriety (wasn't the coach from Baylor on many a short list?) and my season ticket money heads elsewhere!

GO ILLINI...and I dare you to do it as cleanly as the previous coaching staff!

westcoast wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Jerrence's contract pays $180K per year for the next two years but nothing if he quits.  Of course he would say he wants to stay.  He was never going to quit and forego $360K.  Maybe he geniunely wanted to stay, but he would say that he wanted to stay even if he did not want to stay.  

houstonillini84 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

well if Groce didnt offer him a job, he didnt have a lot of choice, did he? We dont know what Jerrance 'wanted' to do, but we sure know what Groce wanted to do.

miggytorres wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Good luck to JH, but this really isn't a significant blow to the program.  If JH was a true ace recruiter, then we would have been getting the best or the right guys in the program.  I'd roll the dice with a new staff. 

I always felt like JH just got along with players and was a pretender in terms of coaching.  I went to class with that guy and graduated the same year and never felt overwhelming confidence that he would amount to anything as a basketball coach, although I did find him to be a genuinely cool person.

chuckles wrote on April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

I am not am alumni, but have season tickets. Honestly, Jeraance can be credited for the guys that are here now, who are not winning?! Let the new coach have his own staff and that way he is fully accountable for his won lost record. Champaign Chuck

heyillini wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I like Jerrance Howard, but all of this love for him is a little much.  Good guy, Illini roots and all; but what has he contributed to the program?  Where are the impact recruits that he brought in that did something meaningful on the court?  Good luck to him in the future.  Also, congrats to Groce for making a statement....this is his team.

cevans wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Couldnt agree more.............seriously who has he really recruited that has made a significant impact on the program or who ended up going to the NBA

PortlandIllini wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Honestly,  we don't know what transpired between Howard and Coach Groce.   But I am certainly concerned about the lack of continuity with recruits.   We've seen too many times that young players identify more strongly with their recruiters than a university and that they will follow a coach to a different school when a coach switches jobs.   I sure hope that Groce has some other Chicago area connection up this sleeve.    Otherwise,  we are looking at four years of marginal recruiting in Cook County.

cevans wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

I wish the best for Jerrance and his family. But, I totally see why Groce decided to let him go and respect his decision, don't know if this is the reason behind the decision but my thought is that I could see problems with JH staying on board for the mere fact that he does have alot of the teams respect and if there would be any disagreements between Groce and Howard more than likely the team would probably listen to Howard, just my thoughts on it. But, I also agree with some of the people on here who have questioned Howards recruiting and the ability to really produce solid players who come through the program. I really dont see this as a huge lose because last time I checked there hasnt been anyone in the last 3-4 seasons who has really helped the team out to win a conference championship or a serious run in the Tournament............So, again wish JH the best of luck but seriously we really didnt lose much and respect Groce's decision and believe it or not people this is his team now not JH's. Let's chillout and give Groce a chance to hopefully turn this program around. GO ILLINI

OKOMIS wrote on April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Could not agree more. Absolutely the best decision for everyone, including Howard.



BaytownILLINI wrote on April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Worst sports decision at Illinois I have ever seen.  I have been an ILLINI fan since 1980.  This is tragic and stupid.  I don't think Groce really understands the value Jerrance brings.  I would have kept Jerrance and brought in Smith from Chicago as the third assistant and kept Walker from Ohio.  We just handed over the keys to the Ferrari to someone else.  Terrible decision Coach Groce.  Terrible decision!


Illini004 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

As a two-time U of I graduate it is really disturbing to see all the hate displayed by supposed Illini fans over the last month... I have faith in Larry DeBrock and the committee that selected Mike Thomas and I have faith in Thomas and in the hiring decisions he has made. 

Until they start playing the games (and probably not until a few years down the road), we won't know whether Beckman and Groce were "good" hires or not... so while everyone is entitled to their opinions on the hires and subsequent staffing decsions such as this one, that is all they are - opinions.

Regardless of whether you agree with the decisions or not there is no debate that Thomas, Beckman, and Groce are going to be highly scrutinized over the next few years... and for that reason they deserve to make decisions of their choosing - they have to lie in the bed, so let them make it!!!

I personally would've liked to have seen JH stay... but am definitely not going to lose sleep over the fact that he isn't for all of the reasons already mentioned on here.

And until the games are played and we find out the quality of Thomas' decisions how about we keep our season tickets and just have faith in the administration of the school we claim to love???  If a few years down the road neither Beckman or Groce work out then you can criticize the decisions... I for one think and hope that you will never get that opportunity.

read the DI wrote on April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Worst sports decision, assuming you are at least 10 years old, was not plying Bill Self with enough money to make the Kansas offer a non-issue. UI basketball jumped the shark that day.

urbanaman wrote on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

And, although we didn't know it at the time, turns out Guenther had an extra $3.9 mil to piss away that we could have used to keep Self.

BTW - Someone tell Goodell not to bother doing any more research on long-term effects of concussions. We have indisputable proof in the person of Ron Guenther.

houstonillini84 wrote on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

uh, riiiiight, because there was no other reason Self wanted to go to KU. Not because its a more famous program, not because it has better fan support, not because its nearer where he grew up and played (oklahoma), nope, the only reason he didnt stay was because RG didnt pay him more. I guess thinking that that makes it easier for you to love on Bill and hate on RG. Whatever.

urbanaman wrote on April 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Yeah, Self had ties to KU, but you can at least show him some coin and make him think twice. Who knows what he would've done.

Oh, but you probably would have preferred Brucie to Self, anyway. Forgot who I was talking to for a minute. lol 

I'll bring my parting shot down to your level:     Whatever x 2, houston!!!!!!

read the DI wrote on April 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Houston is going to whine no matter what. Given his manlove for Weber and his hate for everyone else, I'm not so sure he's NOT Weber himself. There's no other explanation for his complete disregard for the facts.

urbanaman wrote on April 11, 2012 at 8:04 pm

For sure, DI. Forgot about the manlove thang!

Houston, as president of the Bag on Brucie fanclub, I want to apologize for not informing you that Bruce is a happily married ma...uh, fella (unless he's talking trash behind her back, too!).

It would be in your best interest, imho, to fixate on some other paragon of mediocrity.

that1guy wrote on April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm
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Id like to state this without being too rude...... QUIT YOUR WHINING..... for those of you who wanted Coach Weber and Coach Zook gone..... you got your wish.  This is a consequence of those firings and should not come as a surprise. Generaly, when there is a new coach, there is new coaching staffs. Yes, i too like Jerrance Howard and Coach Vic, but when your teams fail to win enough games to keep the coaches job then they should probaly go too. Good luck J. H. wherever you land and GO ILLINI !!!!

IlliniGator14 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm
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I couldn't have said it any better

walker wrote on April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

JH is certainly a good guy and we all like him, but I agree w/ coach when he says we need a clean slate. Also, Jerrance's rating as a bigtime recruiter is slightly overblown.  Why did we miss on so many great Illinois kids to other programs under his watch?  7 or 8 great HS stars come to mind that we were never in the conversation with.  So far, we seem to have actually increased our situation w/ Nunn and we are just getting started.  JH will land with another major program and do well, no doubt.

annabellissimo wrote on April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I have never read more balderdash than I've read here today. Most of the people posting their outrage in such high dudgeon are acting as if Bruce Pearl had just kicked their puppy! Good grief, it is nauseating. Mike Thomas has done Illinois sports a huge service in the excellent, professional and expedient execution of his job!  John Groce is going to be an excellent- I would even say, from early impressions - a magnificent coach with a terrific personality and public persona!  When in the world did you people become so obsessed with who a coach's assistants are?  That is up to the coach's knowledge and discretion and preferences. These so-called "Illinois fans" (I have strong doubts about that), if they ARE Illinois fans, are the most provincial, small-minded, petty little nitpickers and pouters ever to post on sports websites!  Who CARES whether Jerrance Howard is here or finds a job elsewhere? Only Jerrance Howard and his family should find that of particular deep fascination. Illinois basketball is well rid of Bruce Weber (if he ever really leaves since he seems to be hanging around in most bizarre fashion) and people of normal basketball interest are grateful to Mike Thomas and extremely hopeful and optimistic and excited for John Groce (and whatever assistants HE chooses to work with!)  And to the (alleged) Illinois "fans": stop acting like such corn-fed goobers!  The University of Illinois is home to a very long line of NOBEL PRIZE winners and MOST OF THEM WERE NOT FROM ILLINOIS!

tunacommander wrote on April 10, 2012 at 6:04 pm

I have been a very vocal critic of the idiot AD and something smells fishy here. This blog reads like Howard dearly wanted to stay on and Groce turned him down. Groce is not that dumb. Howard can recruit and recruit well. Kentucky wanted him. I heard Groce tried to get a multi-year committment and Howard said he couldn't do that. Groce didn't want Howard out lobbying for another job while on his staff. Same reason he didn't go with Bruce Weber to K State. Bruce was besides himself when Howard held up the Kentucky offer as a ransom. Jerrance Howard can now be officially welcomed to the world of having baggage. There is still time to hire a Chicago area high school coach, preferably from Simeon, for "player development" purposes.

DaisyJ wrote on April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Check it out, JH did not bring in the players you think he did. He was here to be a brother to a brother, here to keep things "cool" with the athletes. He sort of could communicate with some of the guys in a way that other coaches could not.

I actually like him. I think he was pretty loyal, a trait that is not always seen in people today. But, I think he also was kinda used by the school to be a brother and not someone that would grow as a coach. Apparently he accepted that role, and in the end was up to him to be more than that.


itenj@aol.com wrote on April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I liked JH,   but where did he get us?   I am starting to like JG alot.................should he get a illini guy,  great idea,  other then Judson (judsen)  who did self have with illini ties?   norm roberts had none,   i know he brought in wayne mclaine but was that the first year?  JG recruited big time talent for thad at OSU............i think he has a good idea of recruiting,  i would love to see dee brown or deon thomas come in....another illini ex player i always like was lucas johnson.   i know he was not a city guy,  or black but he was rah rah illini and full of energy..........i guess i am asking some questions..............i do think we are better off now with JG,  then we were in feb with BW..........also 2 more things...shaka smart scared me  as did brad stevens........first brad stevens  brought me fears of todd licklieter at iowa.......................liklieter did great at butler,   but could not cut it at iowa and the big 10..............i think he just got a job at a low div  1 school  or was a fav for the job..................shaka smart won with anthony grants recruits,   but who knows how he does in 4 years with his recruits....he may have missed his chance..............what if he goes 14-14  next year?    we were never gonna take frank martin he was a loose cannon and his morals were not illini morals,    scott drew looks like he is in hot water now baylor,     i liked buzz williams  i also liked jamie dixon at pitt,   the guy I really wanted was Tony Bennett at UVa ..................i like JG i want him to win,   one more thought about mike thomas,   I was not at first thrilled with his football coach choice,   but remember where Jim Tressel came from,   he was a div1aa  national champ coach from Youngstown state,   Thomas hired some good coaches at cincy,    he is better then the last AD we had,   he stuck us with zook and BW--------------------------------thanks Ian  Biggest Illini Fan in NJ



houstonillini84 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I am curious why you think kentucky offered him a job if he cant recruit well. I mean, its not like Calipari knows anything about recruiting, right?

DaisyJ wrote on April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Kentucky offered him a job , because if you look closely at Kentucky,,they have guys that are studs, cool studs, that need a brother to be there for them and JH fits that to a TEEEEE

houstonillini84 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

... if thats all kentucky needed they could sure pay a lot less than $200k, dont you think? Like Jerrance is the only person in the world capable of doing that?

What a ridiculous set of posts. I swear, Jerrance has gone from being a great recruiter who we really wanted to keep, to a glorified hand-holder, all in the short time since Groce was hired.

Well I guess we will find out how good of a recruiter Jerrance is when he comes back for antoehr school and starts recruiting the guys he has been recruiting for years.

DaisyJ wrote on April 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

He was never a good recruiter,, just a brother to the brothers.

houstonillini84 wrote on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

so again, why would kentucky pay him hundreds of thousands of dollars when they can get lots of people to do that for a lot less? It doesnt make the slightest sense.

read the DI wrote on April 12, 2012 at 7:04 am

Why would Illinois pay Weber millions of dollars when they can get lots of people to lose basketball games and bitch about it for a lot less? That's what didn't make sense....except, maybe, to you.

illinifan79 wrote on April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Weber was criticized for his poor recruiting.  Jerrance was his top recruiter.  So how can Weber be considered a failure while Jerrance is recognized as a top recuiter???  They were a coaching team so when one fails, dont they both fail???  Dont get me wrong, I am glad Weber is gone, he could not sustain what Self built.  But apparently Jerrance's prized recuits didnt help.  I like Jerrance and I think someday he will be a fine coach.  However, I believe right  now he is overrated as a recruiter.  I think Groce will bring in a quality coaching staff and I look forward to the future.

DaisyJ wrote on April 10, 2012 at 7:04 pm

get your facts straight, JH did not seal the deal on actually bringing in the guys. He is not credited with anyone,,he was here to be the brother to them. Head coaches to a one are the guys that get the final signature and not until they meet with the recruit is anything final. Kids do not come because of who the assistants are. We all thought JH was the reason kids came here,,,not really so, ask Tate, he has commented on this topic in past forums.

benjmau wrote on April 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Yeah....it's impossible for us to be a good basketball team without Jerrance Howard.  Just like it was impossible for us to be a good team when we didn't retain Jimmy Collins back in '96.  PLEASE!!!!!!  He's an assistant coach!!!!  I'm so sick of hearing all the negativity crap.  I just think it's hilarious that Jerrance holds no grudge against Groce for the decision, but so many of you do. 

He's the new coach, and he has every right to hire WHOEVER he wants.  NONE of the players that Jerrance did land are threatening to go elsewhere, and even if they do, SO WHAT!  I see it as a smart decision, even though I was, and always will be a Jerrance fan.  A clean slate is, without a doubt, the best decision.

Doubting Thomas, whoever you are, I'm REALLY glad you cancelled your season tickets, 'cause maybe someone who will actually root for Illinois will sit in them now.  Maybe you'll do us all a favor and stop typing posts as well!!!!!


laidbackent wrote on April 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm

With all due respect to everyone that keeps saying, "Why did we lose so many prized recruits under JH's watch". Jerrance is not the head coach, he's an assistant. It was Weber's job to close the deal. You think we got Dee, Deron & the other players because of the assistant coaches? Heck no. It was because of Self's ability to close the deal. That's who the players play for, the head coach. Weber didn't have the personality to attract the top talent. So you can't blame JH for players picking other schools, if anything JH had the players considering UI. I think it's a mistake for Groce not to keep him, but to each his own. It's a shame though that now JH will come in to Chicago & take the players that UI had a chance of getting. I think Groce will do well here, but I believe he just set his recruiting efforts in Chicago back by a couple of years by not keeping JH on staff. Just my opinion of the situation.

trueillinifan wrote on April 11, 2012 at 9:04 am
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I wish JH well. This appears to be a win win for everyone. JH gets to spread his wings and prove himself somewhere else, Groce gets to have a clean slate staff. The Weber/JH haters get them gone. Groce now gets to prove himself on only his ability and staff. I will root for the Illini to win. I believe they are capable of winning and winning alot. They just all need to hone up their skills, focus on the task at hand and play together. The players will always be Illini's while the coaches come and go. DJ, BP and Tyler---its your last year. Time to be leaders. Don't leave it to Tracy. You must do the little things and the big things. I still hope we find a big man and I still hope we get a former Illini on the staff(Deon). I still havent seen a report on the availble bigs. Sure would be nice. I will root for the Illini to win.  

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 11, 2012 at 9:04 am

Well, I would think most of us wanted Jerrance because it's pretty obvious John Groce was not hired on merit and is likely not up to the job of being the head coach at Illinois. We wanted someone capable of smoothing over how bad this will be. Of all the current head coaches in the 5 major conferences, John Groce has the second lowest in-conference win percentage at the lower levels of any of them (excepting alumni hires like Lorenzo Romar) behind Tad Boyle, who did a renovation job at Northern Colorado and would be higher without the 2-14 first season. 

Look for yourself. Below are the conference records at previous stops. Groce wasn't hired on merit. This is a cruel joke and no one should support the state's highest profile and 2nd highest paying job being rewarded based on networking cronyism rather than merit. Jerrance, on the other hand, was a key part of 3 top 15 classes in a row coming to Champaign for a head coach who had struggled with recruiting. Mike Thomas is kicking out those who have earned their spots in the big boy world and giving them to the unworthy.


South CarolinaFrank Martin50-32 K STHuggins AsstGeorgiaMark Fox66-16 Nevada4 conf titles in 5 yearsFloridaBilly Donovan18-10 Marshall1title in 2yrs – Pition AsstVanderbiltKevin Stallings75-33 Illinois St2 titles in last 3 (2 seconds in first 3)KentuckyJohn Calipari101-25 Memphis (exludes 16-0 vacated year)5 titles – 87-40 at Umass before    BamaAnthony Grant45-9 VCU3 titles in 3 yearsLSUTrent Johnson45-27 Stanford41-43 record at Nevada before (32-20 last 3 years with title)AuburnTony Barbee39-25 UTEPwon title last year (25-7 last 2 years)Ole MissAndy Kennedy8-8 CincyinterimMSStRick RaynothingClemson asst – former purdue asstArkansasMike Anderson43-37 Mizzou42-20 UAB before    ColoradoTad Boyle28-36 N ColTook team from 2-14 to 12-4 in 4 yrsUtahLarry Krystkowiak19-9 MontanaBucks HC and USA u18 work inbetweenArizonaSean Miller55-22 Xavier ASUHerb Sendek72-88 NCST40-14 Miami OhUSCKevin O'Neill8-10 Zona interim9-39 NW, 14-24 Tenn, 37-23 Marq with title last marq yearUCLABen Howland38-26 Pitt44-28 NAU (2 titles in last 3 years)    OregonDana Altman178-107 Creighton19-37 K St and 9-5 Marshall beforeOregon StCraig Robinson17-11 Brown11-3 from 6-8WashLorenzo Romar24-24 SLU22-20 Pepperdine before thatWazzuken bone44-23 Portland St5-9 to 11-5, 109-47 Seattle Pacific beforeStanfordJohnny DawkinsnothingCoach K asst for 11 seasonsCalMike Montgomery212-112 Stanford73-39 Montana before and HC GSW    TexasRick Barnes28-36 Clemson47-55 Providence before and 9-5 G MasonA&MBilly Kennedy70-24 Murray St2 titles last 2 yrsT Techbill Gillespie20-12 Kentucky31-17 A&MOklahomaLon Kruger72-38 UNLV38-28 Illinois, 51-47 Florida, 34-22 K STOklahoma StTravis Ford31-17 Umass28-52 EKU before, but from 1-15 to 11-5 and 2nd place w conf tourney titleKansasBill Self35-13 Illinois30-12 TulsaK StBruce Weber89-65 Illinois62-28 SIUIowa StFred HoibergnothingNBA player with little coaching backgroundBaylorScott Drew12-2 Valpoonly one year – Baylor needed someone to clean up messMizzouFrank Haith43-69 Miami FL20 yrs asst before Miami (over decade of that in major conferences)    Florida StateLeonard Hamilton73-87 Miami FL21-35 OK ST (9 years Kentucky asst before)G TechBrian Gregory70-58 DaytonMSU coaching treeUNCRoy Williams175-49 KansasDecade as Dean Smith AsstDukeCoach KArmy (no conf) 73-59 overallBobby Knight discipleNCSTMark Gottfried83-82 Bama40-12 Murray StWakeJeff Bzdelik10-38 Colorado22-10 Air ForceVirginiaTony Bennett32-22 WazzuFather's coaching treeV TechSeth Greenberg47-63 USF65-43 LBSUMiamiJim Larranaga165-79 G Mason102-84 Bowling GreenMarylandMark Turgeon38-26 A&M71-55 Wichita StClemsonBrad Brownell49-21 Wright St52-20 UNCWBoston CollegeSteve Donahue78-62 Cornell     Penn StatePat Chambers23-9 Boston University Ohio StateThad Matta39-9 Xavier11-3 ButlerMSUTom Izzonothing13 years asst at MSU beforeMichiganJohn Beilein40-40 WVU56-23 Richmond, 44-26 CanisiusIndianaTom Crean90-56 Marquette PurdueMatt Painter17-1 SIU MinnesotaTubby Smith120-40 Kentucky19-13 Georgia, 52-20 TulsaWisconsinBo Ryan13-15 Milwaukee188-52 UWPlattevilleIowaFran McCaffrey68-22 Siena49-47 UNCG, 22-20 LehighNorthwesternBill Carmody50-6 Princeton IllinoisJohn Groce34-30 Ohio 


bfella wrote on April 11, 2012 at 10:04 am

dude you either need to get a job or get to work. You seem to have way to much time on your hands.

Also, everyone else...it is April. We are several months away. Calm down. 

read the DI wrote on April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm


BaytownILLINI wrote on April 11, 2012 at 11:04 am

Just look at the recruiting under Weber before Jerrance got here and after Jerrance got here.

That is value added.

Huge difference before Jerrance and after he got here.


Jerrance was not the head coach but the recruiting was poor before he got here and much better afterwards.

This is an estimate as I don't have time to go look this all up but I would guess that our average recruit was a 3 star before and a 4 star after.  Nearly all recruits since Jerrance got here were 4 star recruits.  Before that not that many. 

Jerrance is a very good recruiter and was completely loyal and Groce chose not to keep him.  I hope the new staff can pull it off without Jerrance.  I know Coach Groce is supposed to be a very good recruiter and I hope he can do that.  I think with Jerrance building up Chicago would have been easier since he has spent a lot of time there over the past five years.

The new staff may be even better than Jerrance in Chicago.  I hope so but its a concern.



Moonpie wrote on April 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

So, some folks here seem to want to perpetuate this amazing myth that Howard is the only coach on the planet somehow. Wow. Sure, he did a great job helping recruit, but, new coach, new staff. To believe Illinois can't win because they don't have Howard is -- amazing. When did Jerrance Howard suddenly become Coach K?

houstonillini84 wrote on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

no one said he was coach K. They just said he was a good recruiter that has good relationships with the players and many current recruits and recruiting targets. Also he has strong UI ties. That maybe counts for something? Because just a few weeks ago people were going on about how great he was and how important he was. Quite a few people said that he should even get the head coaching job. But now that Groce doesnt want him, folks like you are throwing him under the bus.

And another reason for keeping him is so that we wont have to recruit against him. He has built some very good relationships, and the moment he gets another job he will be back here recruiting those same guys for another school.

read the DI wrote on April 12, 2012 at 7:04 am

Give it up. JH was getting beat left and right for the plumb recruits. Self, Calipari, Coach K and others have come in and signed whomever they wanted for years. JH was no Jimmy Collins. Stop pretending he made a difference. We can lose without him as easily as we lost with him.

toohot4tots wrote on April 11, 2012 at 1:04 pm

Good move for all involved.  Time for Howard to learn the ropes as a coach and not just as a recruiter.  Great fit would be under Billy Donovan.  Best of luck to Howard!

butkus50 wrote on April 11, 2012 at 2:04 pm

In my opinion, huge mistake letting Howard go. He is close to freshman class, a true Illini, close to many upcoming recruits, and we will pay him for balance of his contract. Should have definitely been retained until at least end of his comtract. I did not agree with way Beckman handled Coach Vic either and think that was mistake. I certainly hope Groce has hiring someone from Chicago lined up as an assitant to take the sting out of letting Howard leave.

Now our new football and basketball coaches (and A/D) have cleaned house, the entire programs are theirs win or lose. Illinois has some good talent in both sports so let us hope for good seasons beginning next year as the coaches will be held responsible from day one.

bigdog477 wrote on April 14, 2012 at 1:04 am

You are so correct Thomas.