Brad Underwood Named Illini Basketball Coach

The Windy City
What was even remotely "butthurt" about my post? We were in your shoes a year ago, so we know exactly how you feel. SFA fans said these same things to us, and we wrote it off.

He didn't leave because he wanted to coach at Illinois, he left because he wanted to get paid and we couldn't justify it with either on or off court measures. No shame in that. He didn't perform as well as the previous coach, but wanted more money. But don't let the excitement cloud the reality that two fan bases can now verify...Brad Underwood may not end up being the hero you're so desperate for.
He didn't perform as well as whom, Travis Ford? You serious?
 
The Windy City
In their first seasons, after which both asked for a contract extension, yes. As ridiculous as it is.

That's why our AD had cold feet. Ford even won a tournament game in year one...spirits were high...huge contract was offered...and then...Travis Ford became the Travis Ford we all know and loathe. AD Holder would lose his job if that mistake was repeated so he was reluctant/unwilling. He's also not the most cool headed guy around, so i'm sure the negotiations between them were tense.
Sounds like your AD is the problem.
 
The Transfer Portal
On the court, he is stubborn and slow to adapt, as evidenced by starting conference play 0-6 before making a change.
We're coming off a coach who went literally five years without making a fundamental scheme change as significant as going from the pressure defense to the pack line, so six games sounds pretty great.

Every player showed improvement and the unit as a whole was substantially better.
This seems wildly important! Especially for a first-year coach! Do you know how rare it is for this to happen? And jump over 150 spots in offensive efficiency?
 
As an OSU fan, I thought i'd pop in and see your thoughts on your new coach. It seems like people are pretty excited, although I find the disses at OSU and Stillwater odd and petty. Here is my opinion of the good, the bad, and the ugly...

So, what can you guys know for sure about your new coach?

- Great PR guy.
- Great at rallying the fan base.
- Good coach on the court.
- Unproven recruiter at best, poor recruiter at worst.
- No sense of loyalty, despite preaching it.
- Kind of a jerk, definitely has an inflated sense of entitlement.
You seem like a real ball fan and for that I say Peace to You and Yours. Real ball fans share a bond that transcends tribal loyalties.

As for your assessment of our new leader, your top 3 items are exactly what our program needs right now. The recruiting issue might be solved soon by our fabulous AD's next hire. Loyalty has already been an issue with the Illini, so that's nothing new for us. And as far as having an inflated sense of entitlement, isn't that a requirement for everyone living today? At least there's plenty of evidence to support that assertion.
 
Some people would definitely agree with you. Others are on board with his decision. He is definitely a fiscally conservative AD, which isn't to everyone's liking. Personally, I think it really depends on who he hires next and how much success they have.
I'd put good odds on a "fiscally conservative" hire because he's going to look pretty damn foolish if he hires another coach for the money he could have given Underwood. We just got rid of our incompetent AD, sounds like you're stuck with yours.

I'd love to see Doug G get his chance.
 
The Windy City
Underwood is hugely respected around college basketball. Just look at all the plugged in people who raved about him coming to Illinois. If Holder had concerns about Underwood being the next Travis Ford, his instincts are garbage.

Especially after telling Underwood he would re-negotiate a fair salary if Underwood won. Holder low-balled. His mistake.
 
Chicago, IL
It's funny if Underwood is a PR wizard then Groce must be a PR demigod.


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New York
Are you guys anticipating keeping your (excellent) class together? Or expecting some departures?
There's concern about Tilmon. Ppl think he will come if Asst Coach Walker remains on staff, which remains TBD. People expect rest of the class to come. Also hoping to add Mark Smith, rising 4* guard from Edwardsville, but that's up in the air.

People also wondering if we'll get Carroll as a 5th year transfer or any other players from OSU. Any thoughts on that?
 
As an OSU fan, I thought i'd pop in and see your thoughts on your new coach. It seems like people are pretty excited, although I find the disses at OSU and Stillwater odd and petty. Here is my opinion of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The general consensus in Stillwater was that Underwood is a better public figure than coach, and a better coach than man.
Annnnnd I quit reading
 
- Great PR guy.
- Great at rallying the fan base.
- Good coach on the court.
- Unproven recruiter at best, poor recruiter at worst.
- No sense of loyalty, despite preaching it.
- Kind of a jerk, definitely has an inflated sense of entitlement.
1) PR is generated by winning on the court or winning recruiting battles. Underwood's is obviously driven by his coaching prowess, specifically on the offensive end. He's not a good coach on the court, he's a great coach on the court (you don't go 53-1 in any conference otherwise)

2) The guy was an assistant coach at Western Illinois for 10 years, a community college head twice for 7 years in 2 stints, and an assistant coach for Huggins and Martin for 6 years. Entitlement??? The guy didn't get his first D1 head coaching job until he was 48. If anyone's earned his stripes, it's this guy

3) You're suffering from recency bias when it comes to stories about Underwood. You think anyone uttered the words "Roy Williams was such a pillar of this community" when he bolted for UNC? Or "Bill Self was such a generous soul" when he bolted for Kansas? It's fine to be up in arms over a coach being "disloyal", but it's good to at least recognize that information right now may not be trusted

4) Winning is really the only thing that matters when you play on this level of athletics. Besides some serious stuff at Baylor, the more minor character flaws in a coach just don't matter. I can't imagine being friends with Huggins or Martin as they strike me as pretty big jerks, but I sure as heck know that they can coach a winning basketball team. I guarantee you fans of WV and SC would be willing to make that sacrifice every single time

Your comments obviously weren't meant as outright hostile, but they're pretty tone deaf, and I think you're lacking perspective from your recent painful breakup.
 

Deleted member 8632

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Guest
In their first seasons, after which both asked for a contract extension, yes. As ridiculous as it is.

That's why our AD had cold feet. Ford even won a tournament game in year one...spirits were high...huge contract was offered...and then...Travis Ford became the Travis Ford we all know and loathe. AD Holder would lose his job if that mistake was repeated so he was reluctant/unwilling. He's also not the most cool headed guy around, so i'm sure the negotiations between them were tense.
Ford's first year- He added 2 conference wins and 6 total wins from the previous year record.

Underwood's first year- He added 6 conference wins and 8 total wins from the previous year record.

Looks to me like BU had MUCH better improvement in his 1st year than Ford. No?
 
Bonnaroo Land
I'd put good odds on a "fiscally conservative" hire because he's going to look pretty damn foolish if he hires another coach for the money he could have given Underwood. We just got rid of our incompetent AD, sounds like you're stuck with yours.

I'd love to see Doug G get his chance
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hahahaha.......wait wait.....hahahahahaha.....Thanks for making my day.
 
Washington, DC
So, what can you guys know for sure about your new coach?

- Great PR guy.
- Great at rallying the fan base.
- Good coach on the court.
- Unproven recruiter at best, poor recruiter at worst.
- No sense of loyalty, despite preaching it.
- Kind of a jerk, definitely has an inflated sense of entitlement.

All that said, I hope the juice is worth the squeeze and he works out well for you guys. Will he finally display some loyalty? Hope for it, or don't. Either way, you'll probably get burned. I had some other targets in mind when he got hired a year ago, and hoping now that one of those can come to fruition (we're actually in a much better financial situation now than then). Our fanbase was shocked initially, but the excitement of a coaching search is always fun and makes you quickly forget about what could-have-been.
I appreciate you popping in and don't share the "butt-hurt" opinion expressed by others. I think a lot of what you say is probably accurate. We hired him for his Xs and Os, and we've budgeted for assistants who should be able to pick up some of the recruiting slack.

As for loyalty? Coaching is a business. I expect we will get the loyalty we pay for. If someone wants to make him the highest paid coach in the country, our choices will be to match them or say goodbye. Coaching contracts have buyouts; they do not have non-competes and they do not have loyalty clauses.

Now, a question for you about your players' loyalty. Your guy Carroll put up some lofty numbers this past year under BU's tutelage. He will graduate in the Spring with a year of eligibility left. Do you think he will play for OSU, or is he likely to be a graduate transfer.

Oh, BTW & FWIW, more than a few of us on this forum were decidedly butt-hurt when Jawun Evans declared for OSU after all the crystal balls promised he'd play for us.
 
Tampa, FL
hahahaha.......wait wait.....hahahahahaha.....Thanks for making my day.
He is a realistic candidate, I think. He actively campaigned for the job last year, and I believe has already started this year. When we lost Self, Guenther made the mistake of actively looking for someone who would never leave. It backfired into the greatest 9 year run in program history. It would be interesting to see if they give Doug some real consideration, because they don't want to get burned again. I think it would be a huge mistake.
 
M tipping over
Pdx
When you are in a P5 conference and "only" paying your HC $1 million a year, you only have yourself to blame if he leaves
No kidding. You want to pay me half what I am worth, I owe you nothing. We both get what we need until I line up my next gig.
 
Bonnaroo Land
He is a realistic candidate, I think. He actively campaigned for the job last year, and I believe has already started this year. When we lost Self, Guenther made the mistake of actively looking for someone who would never leave. It backfired into the greatest 9 year run in program history. It would be interesting to see if they give Doug some real consideration, because they don't want to get burned again. I think it would be a huge mistake.

Sure, but I was chuckling just from the point of being an Illini fan, and considering G has said some very toolish things re us. ;) I would love to see him get a P5 job and see his level of success.
 

Deleted member 8213

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Guest
Gosh Kenny you seem pretty grouchy for losing such a mediocre basketball coach.
 
In the land of the Nittany Lion
I may be fooling myself--and certainly Underwood may be trying to fool me as well--but there are certainly reasons to believe that Underwood may have looked at Illinois as his dream job. He did spend ten years at Western Illinois University, about 150 miles west of Champaign, and no doubt looked across the prairie with some jealousy. And if the story of his son's first sport jersey is true, that would lend some credence to it.

Western Illinois came to the Assembly Hall to play basketball, and it's an imposing place, seating 16,000 and unlike almost any other arena you've been in, a sport theater in the round. I've never been on the court when the place is rocking, but it has to be intimidating.

Is he a recruiter? It would be interesting to know how he contributed to bringing in kids to WIU. He certainly knows more about Illinois that Oklahoma, both from Western and from recruiting for Kansas. Unless he was lying, he spent a lot of time in-state. I suspect he knows how to pronounce Des Plaines and Cairo, and maybe even Vienna. And he certainly knows the difference between Evanston and East St. Louis. It's not anything against anyone who doesn't. The longest amount of time I've spent in Oklahoma was when my father's brand new '65 Ford started puking transmission fluid in Durant. Nothing personal, I assure you.

But yes, while every coach says great things about his new job--why wouldn't they, if that's where their new job is?--there's reason to believe Underwood may be able to say it with more enthusiasm than others who have no prior connection to a school. No doubt it's why, when offered, Underwood jumped on the coaching gig at Illinois.


:hailtotheorange:By the way, we don't do any "shooting arrows" or, for that matter, tomahawk chops or other cutsie "Indian stuff." We've always taken Chief Illiniwek seriously. He's not a mascot who walks the sidelines, hyping the crowd. Instead, he only appeared at halftime, on the field/court for about two and a half minutes, which made it all the more special. It's never been historically accurate, but it was never disrespectful. We need to some sort of agreement with the Peoria Tribe down your way, who by the way were never as hostile to the Chief as the old white men of the NCAA. But don't get me started on Chief Illiniwek. If you're curious, however, this video shows the football halftime "Three-in-One" that was an 80 year old tradition when the Chief was suspended as a symbol of the university. Enjoy.
 
I may be fooling myself--and certainly Underwood may be trying to fool me as well--but there are certainly reasons to believe that Underwood may have looked at Illinois as his dream job.
The circumstances here seem like they have an obvious answer to me.

Underwood took the Oklahoma State job because it was a good major conference job that offered and fit him, and at SFA you don't say no to that. But the AD relationship was never good and soured as it went along. When OSU went on that hot run and there wasn't a big offer forthcoming, Underwood probably went to his agent and told him he was unhappy and if stuff was out there he would listen at the end of the season. His agent, being a good agent, probably talked with him about the various jobs that might be open and Underwood's thoughts on them. Illinois must have been high on that list. But based on the sudden sense of emergency late in the process, it stands to reason that Indiana may have been higher.

One imagines a good agent telling Whitman, look, my guy wants your job, but he wants Indiana too, maybe more so. They haven't contacted us, but if they do, that's going to change things. Get us on the dotted line here.

Whitman, being a good AD, made that happen.
 
Just win games.
LOL at the bitter Cowboys fan. Be mad at your dumb AD, not Underwood and Illinois.
 
LOL at the bitter Cowboys fan. Be mad at your dumb AD, not Underwood and Illinois.
I don't blame them for being mad, Underwood did screw them over, just don't be dumb about it.

And if John Groce gets another job and anyone here travels to another board to discuss him, have substantive basketball things to say.