Underwood finalizes coaching staff

Underwood finalizes coaching staff

CHAMPAIGN — Brad Underwood’s first coaching staff at Illinois has a familiar face in Jamall Walker, a highly-regarded national recruiter in Orlando Antigua and now a legitimate Chicago connection in Ron “Chin” Coleman.

Illinois officially announced Coleman’s hiring late Wednesday afternoon along with that of assistant to the head coach Stephen Gentry to further round out Underwood’s new coaching staff.

“We’re excited to bring Coach Ron ‘Chin’ Coleman on board. He is a terrific young coach who has worked hard to earn his way up the ranks,” Underwood said in a release. “He has tremendous knowledge of the state of Illinois and city of Chicago, growing up and playing there, and then cutting his coaching teeth at the high school and grassroots level with the Mac Irvin Fire. He is a student of the game, a great teacher and will be an outstanding addition to the University of Illinois basketball program and for our players.”

Coleman just finished his second season at Illinois-Chicago under Steve McClain. Before joining the Flames, he spent three seasons as an assistant at Bradley, one at Nebraska as director of player development and one at Colorado State as an assistant. The latter two stops were both under current Nebraska coach Tim Miles.

Coleman has multiple ties to Chicago beyond his two seasons at UIC. He played in the Chicago Public League at South Shore before starting his own college career at Weber State and ultimately transferring Lamar where he finished as a 1,000-point scorer in three seasons with the Cardinals.

After a seven-year professional career both in the U.S. and overseas, Coleman got into coaching in Chicago. He coached for Mac Irvin Fire from 2005-11 while also returning to the CPL as a coach.

After one season at Benjamin E. Mays Academy, Coleman was associate head coach at Whitney Young from 2007-11. The Dolphins strung together four straight seasons of national top-25 finishes and won the 2009 Class 4A state title during Coleman’s tenure with the program.

Gentry joins Illinois after spending the past four seasons working with Underwood. The former Gonzaga guard was an assistant coach under Underwood for three seasons at Stephen F. Austin before following Underwood to Oklahoma State last season as director of player development.

Gentry also spent six seasons at Texas A&M as video coordinator under Mark Turgeon for four seasons the final two as director of basketball operations under Billy Kennedy. His tenure in College Station, Texas, came after one season as a video intern with the Miami Heat.

“Stephen is one of the great basketball minds in the game,” Underwood said. “He played for an outstanding coach in Mark Few at Gonzaga, worked for Pat Riley with the Heat, and served in various roles at Texas A&M for Mark Turgeon and Billy Kennedy before joining us at Stephen F. Austin and continuing at Oklahoma State. Stephen is gifted with Xs and Os, extremely knowledgeable in the area of analytics, and has a wealth of contacts in the NBA.”

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illinifaningeorgia wrote on April 12, 2017 at 7:04 pm

What a totally classless move.  Illinois poaches the top assistant at UIC, the sister school.

Not totally surprising, I guess, since a few years ago, Illinois also poached our very-successful Softball coach.

So much for ethics.