Bollant reaction: 'It's a terrific hire'
What they were saying about Matt Bollant's move to Illinois:
— "I have known Matt since his days at Evansville. He is a man of integrity and loves to teach the game. I am happy to see him be given this opportunity, and I look forward to watching the program he builds here in Champaign-Urbana as a friend and as a fan." — Chris Mennig, a former Illini assistant who took a sabbatical from St. Thomas More's girls' team this season to assist with the Arizona State women's program.
— "It sounds like the Illini have made a great hire in Matt Bollant, as he has had success wherever he has coached. His teams have dominated the Horizon League, gone toe-to-toe with the big-name schools and been regulars in the NCAA tourney. Hopefully he can breathe life into the women's basketball program at Illinois." — Karrie Redeker (above), Parkland College women's basketball head coach.
— "I don't even know him. I don't think I've ever talked to him before." — Corry Carter, the coach of Chicago Whitney Young's 2012 unbeaten Class 4A state championship team.
— "I can't argue with his successes. It's a great hire. It's nice to see these midmajor coaches get a chance to step up at a big-time program." — Tony Konsewicz of Niles West, who coached The News-Gazette 2012 All-State Player of the Year, Jewell Loyd.
— "Knowing how well he has done, you have to think it's a good hire. Emmonnie (Henderson, uncommitted junior All-Stater) had pretty much written them off and is down to 10 schools. I'm not sure she will be open enough to give them a chance. I will speak with her. I, for one, would love to see Illinois moving up in the Big Ten and nationally." — Lori Blade, whose 2012 Edwardsville team was the Class 4A state runner-up.
— "Matt Bollant is a great hire for Illinois because of the regional connections he has in the Midwest. He's a coach that's similar to our associate head coach Vic Schaefer in getting a chance at his first BCS job. He'll do great in the Big Ten because his knowledge of the game is outstanding, and he gets kids to play hard." — Texas A&M coach GARY BLAIR.
— "It's a terrific hire. Matt is a proven winner. He has done so much in his short time at Green Bay and before. He is a terrific coach and more importantly, a terrific guy. Matt and his staff will do a terrific job going after those (state) recruits and will make the UI program what it once was." — STEPHANIE WHITE, BTN analyst and former National Player of the Year at Purdue.
— "I'm very happy for Matt. He's a first-class person. First and foremost, he's a very good guy. I have not coached against many tougher teams in my career than the Green Bay team we faced in the NCAA tournament. Illinois made an excellent choice. I think he is a coach at the very top of our profession, and I think he'll do a great job at Illinois." — Kentucky coach MATTHEW MITCHELL (above).
— "I think it's a great decision X and O wise. He's a great game coach. My take on players going there or not is this: U of I wasn't getting the players before, so this can't hurt. I'm very excited about the move. Winning cures all recruiting woes, and I feel this coach will be great." — EDDIE STRITZEL, River Forest Trinity coach.
— "I don't know him personally but have talked to his assistants. I know looking at his credentials, he should be a good fit for the U of I. Hopefully, he will get it turned around. As all coaches know, if you have the players and they are willing to work, good things will happen." — BRAD SCHEFFLER, Springfield High coach.
— "I am a graduate of the U of I. I don't know Coach Bollant, but he certainly has an impressive resume. I hope he can continue his winning ways and his success at Illinois. I have been disappointed in the last several seasons with the Illini women, so I am excited and hopeful for a positive change. I will look forward to this new era of Illinois women's basketball. I do think Coach is correct that there is a world of talent within the state to be successful at the major college level. I have had no contact with Illinois staff concerning Sarah (Livingston, junior All-Stater), so I don't think they have been interested." — BOB BECKER, Morton High coach.