One day after his first season at Oklahoma State ended, Brad Underwood is moving on to coach Illinois.
This will be Underwood'sthird coaching job in as many years as he moved on from Stephen F. Austin in 2015. He'll make more than double his previous salary with Illinois, according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman.
— Josh Whitman (@IlliniAD) March 18, 2017
The Illini fired head coach John Groce last week afteran 18-13 season where he failed to make the NCAA tournament for a fourth consecutive season. They'll replace him someone who's made it in all fourof his head coaching seasons.
"Coaching basketball at the University of Illinois is a once-in-lifetime opportunity," Underwood said in a press release."The players, fans and administration at Oklahoma State have been absolutely incredible, and I want to thank them for the support they've given me and my family over the last year. However, during my time at Western Illinois, I always saw the Illinois coaching job as one of the truly best in the nation."
Underwood's solid year with the Cowboys was masked behind a tough schedule. Histeam finished 20-13 after a first-round tournament exit in a close game with Michigan, but played nine ranked opponents in the regular season, and lost exclusively to KenPom's top-75 ranked teams. They also beat No. 4 seed West Virginia, and handed Wichita State one of its four losses all season.Oklahoma Stateranks No. 23 by KenPom's metrics, withthe nation's top offense.
This was a surprising move to say the least, and without the most appealing job even in its own conference, Illinois was able to bring in an accomplished coach to boost the program.