Illini get their man: Bollant

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.

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Oak Park Illini wrote on March 28, 2012 at 9:03 am

I admit I wanted Bond to be the next coach, but after Bollant's resume I'm very impressed. He's won big wherever he's been and seems ready to take that final step into big-time college basketball. I think he'll adjust well to the Big Ten.

ilkrm wrote on March 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

I can think of at least two of the trustees that will vote no on his contract.  It's sad that they will do this.  I wish the new coach the best and hope he can bring some respect back to women's basketball at Illinois.

Collatine wrote on March 28, 2012 at 10:03 am

A great hire. Congrats! 

Fedupwithstatereps wrote on March 28, 2012 at 11:03 am

Good job Mike Thomas!  Here's to returning the women's program to higher standards.

oldillini wrote on March 28, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Not quite convinced that this is good or not.  Playing in the Horizon league vs. the big ten or another top conference is quite a different story.  Record sounds good but again less competitive conference, you can rack up the wins.  But then again anything is better then Law.  I am going back to see the games now.  I will encourage others to go back now also.  Anyway good luck and I do hope that I am proven wrong. 


rrunr55 wrote on March 28, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Check out his record at UW-GB.        LET HIM COACH THE MEN's TEAM!!!!!!!