Brad Underwood Named Illini Basketball Coach

Ordained Dudeist Priest
Johns Creek, GA
I can't believe we got trolled by a guy who basically supports an AD that isn't interested in titles. Just keeping up with Iowa State.

I freaking love that Josh Whitman is our AD.
 
I hate to remain slightly negative, but the circumstances in which coach Underwood found himself at Illinois should leave us all with a bad aftertaste. Not that Illinois did anything wrong, but that coach Underwood showed a lack of class in his abrupt departure.

In my short time on this board, I've run past countless posts labeling coaches all kinds of negative things. I can't help but think that if coach Underwood--under the same circumstances--had been hired by Indiana instead of Illinois, Illinois fans would have roasted him above waves of heavy fire.

•Illinois isn't his dream job. He said the same thing about Oklahoma State.

•He wasn't entitled to a higher salary. He signed a contract, having only coached at SFA a few years, being at Oklahoma State--the team who gave him his big break--for only a year. But even under such financial circumstances, he and the AD were set to discuss his salary upon the conclusion of the season. This rumor that he and the AD didn't get along seems like something Underwood's people would float.

•After 1 season and a day after riding on a plane with his team back from their last game of the season, he leaves for Illinois, weakly communicating his departure to the student-athletes he supposedly cared so much about.

Yeah, it's a business. Coaches are often times hired mercenaries. And coach Underwood is going to win at Illinois. But if you're going to be honest with yourself, doesn't his hiring seem a little bit slimy?
 
Not one bit! The AD at OK state didn't see his vision and basically short changed him after promising to give him a raise if he won!
 
You're worth whatever someone is willing to pay you. If we're actually all honest with ourselves, we should've been more pissed at Guenther than Self when Self left.
 
20-12 single year rebuild in P5 conference with a tourney birth. That's worth more than a million. If he truly was offered 2.2 to stay there, 2.75 opening year sounds totally reasonable from us. He has a great track record, runs exciting ball, and we provided him 6yrs of job security. I have no bad taste in my mouth and JW is all we need to trust the hire right now.
 
Meh, grading at this point is sooo premature. I really like what I see coaching-wise, and I think there's enough talent here for an immediate turn-around....but whether he's a good coach at UofI, great coach, or HOF coach, is going to take a while to see.

Pass me some kool-aid, though.

Consider it like a UNC class. A grade is earned before doing anything.
 
st petersburg, fl
I think all this speculation on what his relationship with the AD was and how all that played out is really moot. We really don't know what happened, and everything we hear will either be 1) hearsay or 2) biased - likely both.

here's what we do know - the lowest guaranteed coach salary in the big 12 in 2015 (for schools for which we have data) was Tubby Smith @ $1.7M. Granted I only saw data for 8 schools, but i'm guessing the last two aren't significantly lower.

I think it's reasonable to assume salaries haven't gone down in the last couple of years. The would make BU - by far - the lowest paid coach in the big 12. That for a coach that was one of the seven school in the conference that secured a tourney berth in his first season there. If you're the AD for OSU, you should fully expect the coach to expect a renegotiation of the contract, regardless of what the contract terms were. It's like saying Greg Gard wouldn't be justified in expecting a renegotiation even though he took UW to two straight S16's and is supposedly being paid <$2m/yr (unless it's already happened). Alvarez would be delusional to not expect that.

So with that laid out, regardless of what the relationship between BU and the OSU AD is, it is fully reasonable for him to test the market and see what he's worth. If the relationship was strained, that doesn't help things.

I obviously don't know BU in person. What I do know is that his mentors (Huggins, Martin), are not exactly the most outwardly friendly people in the world. He does give off a similar vibe, so we'll see how that plays out. But that doesn't change the facts of how this hiring played out. And OSU can't be mad about that just looking at the facts. The OSU AD shouldn't have given him the opportunity to test the market if he really wanted him to stay. But that is exactly what happened. Even if BU is the nicest guy in the world, i would still expect him to do the exact same thing, because it's the smart thing to do given the circumstances.
 
Last edited:
No longer in New England
The only surprising aspect to this process to me was Underwood not giving OSU an opportunity to counter UI's offer. That could be due to BU seeing UI as a much better opportunity or indicate issues with the situation at OSU - in this case the AD. (In fact OSU message boards state that issues have arisen between their AD and other OSU coaches in the past.)

I suspect it was a combination of better opportunity/fit with the school's vision and issues at OSU.
 
Everyone is putting this on Underwood, let's not forget it takes two to tango. Our AD arrived with a jersey and a sign and had the guy pose for a photo that night. In the words of Chicago's R Kelly "hey homie, if you ain't got no money, better keep her away from me, you dig"
 
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.
No, he didn't screw them over. He used one of the avenues of the contract which both of them signed. It's very unusual, but he wasn't happy and exercised one of the tenets of the contract. That's not screwing them over. Distasteful maybe.
 
Short changed him after promising to give him a raise? Underwood left for Illinois the day after Oklahoma State's season ended. At what point was the AD supposed to give him a raise; in the locker room at halftime?
In your earlier post you said this, "•He wasn't entitled to a higher salary. He signed a contract,: So now you're saying something is wrong with him using one of the avenues of that same contract? Which they both signed?

You can't have it both ways.
 
Short changed him after promising to give him a raise? Underwood left for Illinois the day after Oklahoma State's season ended. At what point was the AD supposed to give him a raise; in the locker room at halftime?
No, but as Underwood is earning that raise, you make sure that he knows you're gonna take care of him. Again, you make sure he knows. You draft some basic terms and send it to his agent. Let him know there's room for negotiation. Do it multiple times during the season so he knows. And most importantly, even if you're not going to, you tell the damn coach that you want and expect the program to win national titles, and that you will be fully supporting him in that process.

I'm not an AD, and I just came up with that in 5 seconds. Holder probably gets around 1M per year to do at least those basic things. He effed up. Plain and simple.
 
He didn't give State a chance to raise his salary, leaving his players in the dust after one season. It's not like he won the Big 12. He was making what a coach 1 season removed from SFA should be making.

Of course he went for the money, which is his right. It's the abrupt manner in which he left that feels wrong. The whole shooting the guns up, this is my dream job, I love my players....then poof.
I have some basic sympathy for this position.
Frankly, I'll bet that Underwood does as well.
I suspect that this says that the relationship just wasn't that good. Evidently (and I'm assuming here) this says that BU didn't really trust OSU AD to make good on his promise. Because jumping ship that quickly doesn't happen, imo, if there is trust.
 
Ordained Dudeist Priest
Johns Creek, GA
No, but as Underwood is earning that raise, you make sure that he knows you're gonna take care of him. Again, you make sure he knows. You draft some basic terms and send it to his agent. Let him know there's room for negotiation. Do it multiple times during the season so he knows. And most importantly, even if you're not going to, you tell the damn coach that you want and expect the program to win national titles, and that you will be fully supporting him in that process.

I'm not an AD, and I just came up with that in 5 seconds. Holder probably gets around 1M per year to do at least those basic things. He effed up. Plain and simple.
I can't find where I saw the quote, but there was something out there about OSU's AD saying they wanted to be on the same level as Iowa State and KSU, not competing for championships. Whitman wants UIUC to compete for championships. I know which guy I'd want to to work for.
 
He didn't give State a chance to raise his salary, leaving his players in the dust after one season. It's not like he won the Big 12. He was making what a coach 1 season removed from SFA should be making.



Of course he went for the money, which is his right. It's the abrupt manner in which he left that feels wrong. The whole shooting the guns up, this is my dream job, I love my players....then poof.


He did give them a chance, the last month of the season. Also, he was second in voting for coach of the year behind the #1 seed Bill Self.

Plus let's be honest, we have a much better shade of orange ;)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Underwood will soon be 54 and doesn't have many more years for a big payday. He will earn more at U of I than his whole career to this point (combined). The fact that he will come to a school that will appreciate winning basketball makes it even sweeter for him.

Having a good relationship with your boss and feeling valued is key to anyone's job. Can't blame the guy for leaving a toxic situation.
 
No, he didn't screw them over. He used one of the avenues of the contract which both of them signed. It's very unusual, but he wasn't happy and exercised one of the tenets of the contract. That's not screwing them over. Distasteful maybe.
I'll settle for distasteful. There is a norm about not leaving after one year. But it does happen.

No. It feels like we are finally deciding to acknowledge the fact that this is a business, and are carrying ourselves accordingly. And thank God for that.
Right. We have nothing to apologize for. It is what it is and we would be irresponsible not to do what's best for the program.
 
In the land of the Nittany Lion
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.
Well said, although I suspect the urgency was going both ways. When the agent came to Whitman (assuming this is how it happened, and it probably was), Whitman knew he had to move quickly or Underwood would go somewhere else.

On the other hand, that door at Illinois had just swung open, and Underwood said, dayum, I gotta get me some of that before someone else does.

That's why both were willing to move so quickly.

So Underwood could have been sincere in staying he wanted to stay at OSU, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came along and...

I doubt there's anyone on this board who wouldn't leave a job for a tripling of salary, great place, a better boss relationship (or at least a not-bad one), and a chance to be the very best in your field.

And that's exactly what Josh Whitman offered. Goodbye, cowboys, I'm going over to the other side.
 
So Underwood could have been sincere in staying he wanted to stay at OSU, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity came along and...
I mean, I think any clear-eyed view of this would come to the conclusion that if OSU had really committed in money and resources and behind-the-scenes dedication and ambition to the Brad Underwood era, he would still be in Stillwater.

They didn't do that. Lucky (and savvy) us.
 
•Illinois isn't his dream job. He said the same thing about Oklahoma State.

•He wasn't entitled to a higher salary. He signed a contract, having only coached at SFA a few years, being at Oklahoma State--the team who gave him his big break--for only a year. But even under such financial circumstances, he and the AD were set to discuss his salary upon the conclusion of the season. This rumor that he and the AD didn't get along seems like something Underwood's people would float.

•After 1 season and a day after riding on a plane with his team back from their last game of the season, he leaves for Illinois, weakly communicating his departure to the student-athletes he supposedly cared so much about.

Yeah, it's a business. Coaches are often times hired mercenaries. And coach Underwood is going to win at Illinois. But if you're going to be honest with yourself, doesn't his hiring seem a little bit slimy?
Every coach is going to say the job he just was hired to is a destination job. That's coach speak and criticizing it is grasping at straws.

His contract had a $3 million buyout which will be paid by Illinois and thus his contract was fulfilled.

I was angry and felt betrayed when Bill Self left UI like every other Illini fan, so I can sympathize with how Oklahoma State fans feel. That doesn't make what either coach did wrong. they pursued better opportunities in their profession. They got big raises. 99% of us would do the same in our own lives if someone offered to compensate us 2 or 3 times as much to do our job.

Finally, I find it a bit dubious that you think new Illini coach Underwood is "slimy" for accepting a better opportunity, and yet you believe Steve Alford was justified in covering up evidence in a rape case involving his best player. Those two opinions put together make me question your concept of ethics or else your actual motivation posting to an Illini message board. :noidea: