Klee: Jerrance to SMU

Klee: Jerrance to SMU

CHAMPAIGN – Jerrance Howard had options.

And the former Illini assistant has chosen an exceptional one to continue his young coaching career.

Howard has reached an agreement to become an assistant on Larry Brown’s staff at Southern Methodist University, Howard said today. Howard spoke with Brown earlier today when the deal was finalized.

An ace recruiter, Howard is familiar with the state of Texas, having worked in an administrative capacity on Billy Gillispie’s staff at Texas A&M.

He spent five seasons on Bruce Weber’s staff at Illinois. Howard played at Illinois from 1999-2004. But he made his name on the recruiting trail, where he was the lead assistant on more than half the Illini's 2011-12 roster.

Before the SMU job surfaced, the 31-year-old Howard was close to joining Weber’s staff at Kansas State. He also had spoken with Memphis and DePaul about jobs that are open or could become open. Howard was informed last week he wouldn’t be retained on John Groce’s staff at Illinois.

Instead, Howard will join Brown in Dallas. ESPN.com's Jason King reported earlier today that Brown would become the head coach at SMU.

The move is attractive for Howard for several reasons. One, he can step outside the Illini bubble and expand his coaching contacts. Two, SMU figures to spend big on its new basketball staff as it prepares for a move to the Big East in 2013. Howard also aspires to be a head coach, and learning under a Hall of Famer can’t hurt that cause. Brown is the only coach to win an NCAA and NBA championship.

This story will be updated.


News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

stumblefoot wrote on April 17, 2012 at 5:04 pm

A big CONGRATULATIONS to Coach Howard.  I'm sending Illini well wishes to one of the biggest orange and blue suppoters ever.  I hope he has tremendous success at SMU and that we get to see him prowling the sidelines as a head coach someday.  

We will never forget all that you did for the Fighting Illini.  Now, go get 'em Mustang!

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Congrats Jerrance


SMU doing what Illinois should have done. Too bad Mike Thomas cannot see the forest and is completely clueless on the state of the world.

If your search committee starts with anyone other than WWW, you have a lot of explaining to do. Let's help train young men for their professional careers in a mutually beneficial set-up.

peterborich wrote on April 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Doubting Thomas:  please follow Jerrance to Texas... He needs someone to wash his socks for him....

optimator wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

i heard SMU offered DT an associate AD position due to all of his thougtful eloquent analysis seen on this site, copied and pasted over and over and over


PeterE wrote on April 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

DT Please move to Manhattan Kansas where you belong and root for K-State

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

What makes you think I support Weber?

I don't. He clearly botched the job, especially the last two seasons.


However, when I see the AD hire a likely worse candidate who has done nothing to earn the job, I'm not happy just because it's not Weber. It's worse. Tell me how many minority candidates Thomas interviewed who had a 53.125% in-conference win pct at their last spot like Groce. Tell me how many minority candidates he interviewed whose best finish is 3rd place in a division in a weak conference.

The AD made Illinois look racist. There is no doubt about that. Given the tone and tenor of the Illini message boards, the appearance likely fits the fan base. Look at the different treatment given in posts toward Groce than candidates like Reggie Theus and Craig Robinson. It's shocking as Theus and Robinson have done a better job at being a college head coach. I wonder what other factor could be in play then? Well, for the AD, I think he's infatuated with being the AD at Ohio State and doesn't understand the differences between Ohio State and Illinois. For the fans, I think there is another factor.

illinifan73 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

DT shocking? Theus coached 2 season at New Mexico State and Robinson has a losing record at OSU. What is shocking is any person with a college education constantly playing the race card. That is the problem with you and your PC crowd. Sorry, what ever happened to qualifications?? If you are going off of experince and coaching records, which is what Thomas should be doing, Groce has a better record than Robinson and is not looking to use a college job as another stop over to get back into the NBA. That would be Theus. It may look racist in your eyes but not in mine. Since when has race become a requirment for hiring anyone? One other thing. I am glad you had inside information on those that applied for the head coaching job. Funny thing is. Robinson or Theus haven't said a word about being overlooked for a white guy from the midwest.

PeterE wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Groce is much better than Weber. Weber ruined Illinois' stature and reputation. Now no decent top notch coach would have come here. Illinois was lucky to even get an up and coming coach like Groce. Illinois has to climb up all over again.

pblillini wrote on April 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Smart move by Jerrance.  Would have been career suicide following Bubbles to KSU.

illini4fan wrote on April 17, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Good god Doubting!!! pretty bad when i start reading a post before i look at the name and i can tell its from you! You need to move to another state and cheer for another team because since you are no longer an Illini fan and cant get behind the new coaches and support them NOBODY wants you around here !!!

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

Hey, I graduated from Illinois and stand behind the school.

I refuse to elevate a poor AD who is making discriminatory hires above the school.

If you support the school, you should be mad as heck right now and hoping the BOT steps in to end this scandal of the AD gifting jobs instead of rewarding them on merit.

Moonpie wrote on April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

illini4fan--why do you tell people they must move and support another team? Because they disagree with you? Wow! You'd vote for Rick Santorum, wouldn't you.


illini82 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 8:04 am

To work with Larry Brown should be a good move for Jerrance plus he's had some experience already in TX.

Just glad he didn't got to KU,KY or even with Weber at KSU.  While he'll use  his Chicago connections to try to get some players to TX and SMU it'll be a harder sell vs. getting them to KU,KY or even KSU with Weber.


Good luck to Jerrance.

PeterE wrote on April 18, 2012 at 10:04 am

Great news for Howard and Illinois! After becoming "infected" coaching under Weber, now Jerrance has great opportunity to learn under a real coach, light years beyond Weber.

tunacommander wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 am

This is a good deal for Howard even though "next city" Larry has a reputation as a scum bag. Howard burnt his bridges here by playing coy to Groce. Better to start with a clean slate. Let's hope that Groce has the savy to get a good AAU connection and to infiltrate the Peoria and Decatur hoops scenes.

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I am not playing the race card.

I'm noting the Illini fanbase's reactions to names brought up. If the fan's have been racist, it's not my fault to point it out.

Robinson crushed at Brown inheriting a bad program.

Theus crushed at NMST inheriting a bad program.

Just take Theus, who had the backing of Illini like Lou Henson and Stephen Bardo, and compare it to the backing of non-Illini like Mike Thomas.


<br>Winning at lower levels - advantage Theus<br>21-11 in-conference at NMST inheriting a bottom program in the conference compared to Groce's 34-30<br><br> Recruiting at high major basketball - tie<br>Theus brought LA players to L'ville and was key in the Padgett transfer, while Groce is tied to the Oden/Conley class at Ohio State.<br><br> Coaching experience at top level of basketball - advantage Theus<br>Theus led the Sacramento Kings to 5 wins more than the previous year and has 3 years asst with T'wolves while Groce was stagnating Ohio's program.<br><br> Playing at top level basketball - advantage Theus<br>6 years with Bulls, plenty of NBA and int'l experience. <br><br> Exciting style of ball - tie<br>Theus' adjusted tempo stats at New Mexico St were higher than what Groce did, actually, so I'm being generous.<br><br> Connections to Illinois area - advantage Theus<br>Bulls ties, knows Parker's parents, played pick-up games with many of today's movers-and-shakers in the AAU scene. <br><br> Connections to recruits in near future - advantage Theus<br>Knows Parker's parents, played pick-up games with many of today's movers-and-shakers in the AAU scene is worth a bit more than the Nunn, DJ Cooper, and Evan Turner ties of Groce.<br><br> Clean history with academics as coach - advantage Theus<br>Groce had APR issues at Ohio and brought in problem athletes.<br><br> Likely to spend rest of his coaching career at Illinois rather than treat it as a stopover - advantage Theus<br>Groce's name has already been linked with college coaches ready to go to the NBA and those ready to take over for Matta, who has health issues.<br><br> Backing of former Illini - advantage Theus<br><br>Backing of posters from East and Central Illinois - advantage Groce<br>Backing of AD with Ohio mid-major background - advantage Groce<br> There is no debate, really. The only ones who favor Groce are discriminating.

CecilColeman wrote on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Jerrance Howard - - "An ace recruiter"!!!

If this is true, where are his "ace recruits"??  Why the dearth of talent at Illinois?  How come Weber's annual sinking ship got him fired?

I just cannot wait to see all those Chicago Public League superstars playing for SMU. Goodness knows they are All Over The Mighty, Mighty Big 10!

Evan Turner's younger brother gonna go there?  Shannon Brown's? Michael Orris? Riiiiight.

PeterE wrote on April 18, 2012 at 11:04 pm

Jerrance Howard didn't recruit any elite players. Illinois best players still mostly went out of state much less the best players from neighboring states. Howard was just much better than Weber had been and not world beater recruiters like Self, Roy W, Matta  or Calipari. Puhleeze

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 19, 2012 at 1:04 am

Jerrance was key in Illinois landing 4 top 100 recruits from Chicago last year. I understand people don't realize how good they are, yet. That's typical. Guys ranked 60-100 rarely contribute much the first year, but they have very strong careers.

It took Jerrance a few years to make the inroads and Illinois chose to start all over. Other than the Chew hiring, there hasn't been one positive thing for the Illini since Weber got fired. The school had an excellent chance to do things right. Instead, the AD thought he was at Ohio State and made the mistakes that one would expect from a man who confuses Illinois with Ohio State.

PeterE wrote on April 19, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Like I said. Jerrance Howard didn't recruit elite players to Illinois, the kind it's been shown you need to have at least a few on your team to win national championships. Howard's more than replaceable.

crackerman wrote on April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Looking at Brown's job history, he should stay at SMU for maybe 2 years...........

jrwill59 wrote on April 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Ok. Count me in on the "it is time to move on group."  Good luck to Jerrance Howard. I wish him success but am really not going to miss him.  He was a good recruiter, if you you consider getting the second tier players out of Illinois good.  I would rather have all of the players we did not get who went elsewhere and won national championships.  As for Weber, every damn year in mid-January we heard that the players just weren't grasping the offense.  They didn't run off screens hard enough, they weren't making their cuts, and they weren't playing hard enough on defense.  Guess what Bruce?  If every year the players cannot grasp your offense, CHANGE YOUR OFFENSE!!!!!  Here would be another suggestion.  Play ZONE DEFENSE if your players struggle with man to man!  In closing, I am sick of listening to the race card.  If you really want to play it, on a level playing field, blacks deserve 10% of the jobs.  If they have 11%, somebody needs to be fired to make it fair!

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 19, 2012 at 1:04 am

I'm sick of the race card as well. Too bad the Illini fans played it hard when they rallied to the side of John Groce who is grossly under qualified to be the head coach of Illinois.

Dann001 wrote on April 19, 2012 at 3:04 am

"I'm sick of the race card as well"???? You are the most racist poster on this site! 

urbanaman wrote on April 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

Ooooo. Looks like jrwill59's got you there, numbers man...

illiniphil85 wrote on April 19, 2012 at 10:04 am

Theus or Craig Robinson. ROFLMAO. 2 coaches that would barely get interest in the MAC and you want the University of Illinois to consider them for a Head Coaching job? Perhaps you should change your moniker to Clueless D0ubting.

There is a reason that no school on the planet has shown interest in either.


D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Theus finished 2nd in DePaul's search. Behind Oliver Purnell.

If Illinois brought in an Oliver Purnell, it would make sense to not have Theus.

Illinois didn't. They brought in John Groce. Why?

Of all the current head coaches in the big 5 conferences, Groce has near the worst in-conference win pct at the lower levels. The guys below are Lorenzo Romar (hired at his alma mater after 2 games above .500), Tad Boyle (who would be higher if he didn't have a reclamation project and was 2-14 the first year and whom also moved a few miles in the same state), and Bo Ryan (only if you exempt what he did in Division II and was also moving across the same state). 

John Groce stands alone has having the single worst in-conference win pct at the lower level for coaches hired to a new big 5 conference environment. Ohio is not the same as Illinois. If you don't know why, I suggest you look at the 9 million people in Chicagoland.

The worst. Objectively. Apples to apples. 

And, it's not due to a big rebuild. He inherited a program that went 40-24 the 4 preceeding years to his 34-30 in the MAC East and 9-7 the year before. 

It's not due to going "clean". Groce had APR issues and brought in guys most Illini fans would consider program cancers like Armon Bassett. 

Groce was hired for being a midwest "fit" according to what Mike Thomas and Kent Brown said following the hire. That's straight discrimination.

How many minority candidates with a 53.125% in-conference win pct got a face-to-face interview with Thomas? What was the lowest in-conference win pct of a minority candidate with a face-to-face interview? 

Please, urge the BOT to stop this discriminatrion and not merit based hire.

illiniphil85 wrote on April 20, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Not to worry D0ubting, I'm sure Theus and Robinson will still be available in 5 years if Groce doesn't pan out. LMAO There's a good reason that neither is going anyplace.

manhattanillini wrote on April 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Keep him, we don't want him here either

D0ubtingTh0mas wrote on April 19, 2012 at 4:04 pm

how shocking... the great Illini fans turning on a man who would sell his soul for the program

JWegeng wrote on April 19, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I am beginning to think that thomas was brought in to sabotage the Illini sports network.  Besides our women's coach, he has screwed up everything.

AlD5862 wrote on April 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

I guess time will tell.  dt spouts all the record information concerning Theus and Robinson, however if you look closely at the coaching record of one Coach K at Duke you will find that he had a losing record at USMA (West Point) and had a losing record at Duke for the 1st 3 years and I would say that he turned out OK.  And he is white.  I consider that AD Thomas has done a good job by getting rid of 3 coaches that needed to be removed and probably should have been removed by AD Ron Gunether.