Illini get their man: Bollant
CHAMPAIGN — Matt Bollant, who guided the Green Bay women's basketball team to a 31-2 record and into the second round of the NCAA tournament this season, is expected to be named the head coach at Illinois today, multiple sources told The News-Gazette.
Illinois has called an 11 a.m. news conference today at Bielfeldt Building, where it is expected Bollant will be introduced. The school said athletic director Mike Thomas, who also is searching for a men's basketball coach, will be in attendance.
The hiring of Bollant is seen as a major get for an Illinois program looking to re-establish itself on the Big Ten scene.
The 41-year-old Bollant just finished his fifth season with the Phoenix where he compiled a 148-19 record and won five straight Horizon League championships. Green Bay was ranked 10th in The Associated press poll released at the end of the regular season.
Seventh-seeded Green Bay beat Iowa State in the first round of the NCAA tournament before losing 65-62 to second-seeded Kentucky in the next round.
Illinois fired Jolette Law on March 2 after five seasons. Law went 69-93, never reached the NCAA tournament and never finished higher than eighth in the Big Ten.
Bollant will be the second men's coach of the Illinois women's program — and eighth overall. Steve Douglas went 25-21 in the program's first two seasons from 1974 to '76.
Before taking over at Green Bay, Bollant was the head coach at NAIA Bryan College in Tennessee. He led the Lions to a 134-38 record during his tenure from 2002 to '07. Bryan reached the NAIA tournament each of Bollants last four years and went to the Sweet 16 in 2006.
Before Bryan, Bollant was an assistant at Indiana for two seasons under Kathi Bennett after spending three seasons as an assistant at Evansville.
Bollant was a candidate for the Wisconsin opening at the end of last season, but was passed over for former Stanford assistant Bobbie Kelsey.
Bollant took over the Green Bay program in 2006-07 after current Michigan coach Kevin Borseth left to take over the Wolverines.