John Groce at Illinois

Status
Not open for further replies.
Never heard this before...very interesting and maddening.

It seems really stupid to set these parameters for coaches and shows a complete lack of appreciation for the history of Illinois athletics. We have never dominated the state of Illinois recruiting and never will. It's been good enough in basketball to get some of the best players. Our best football teams have always had a fair amount of out of state talent and at times we've been competitive for good players in state (occasionally landing a great player like Martin O'Donnell, Rashard Mendenhall, Juice, Martez Wilson).

I never believed money was the problem with Thomas' coaching hires. It had to be more than that and you're confirming it. The very idea that Beckman had a remote chance of making Illinois the destination school for Illinois kids is a farce. I still believe Groce can land some of the best Illinois kids if he can improve the product on the court.
A vision for the department is a good thing. And MT's vision had an internal logic to it and is basically what a lot of different stakeholders have advocated for. And an AD should target coaches who they feel are a fit.

I just think it's an interesting thing to note in retrospect. I heard from someone who would know that Brad Stevens had some degree of interest in Illinois (the idea at the time was that he would never ever leave Butler - oops), but through his conversations with MT, he realized they didn't see eye-to-eye on the big picture vision for the program. Do I believe in my heart of hearts that a different AD would have landed Stevens? I kinda don't. But who knows.
 
So what's eberybody honestly think going to happen? If Groce finds a way to win 2 remaining games, he is back for sure I would think. But what if the team wins 1 game or less than that(which let's be honest is not that far off reality). I mean no way Groce comes back with only 1 more win right?
 
So what's eberybody honestly think going to happen? If Groce finds a way to win 2 remaining games, he is back for sure I would think. But what if the team wins 1 game or less than that(which let's be honest is not that far off reality). I mean no way Groce comes back with only 1 more win right?
I think Groce's biggest fear is that the Leron Black case takes a turn for the worse, which can be more damaging than our performance on court. I think the Black incident did a lot of damage, more than Groce had expected. JMO.
 
Obelix, can you elaborate? Do you feel that it is being viewed as Groce is too permissive? Doesn't have control of his players? What kind of turn for the worse could this takea? Just curious.
 
If you do a quick search of best the basketball programs of all time, or since 2000, Illinois is always in the top 25. We should expect to be a ranked team, or flirting with it in off years, most of the time. If we did it in the 80's there is no reason we can't get there again.

I don't know if JG gives us a chance at that sustained consistency. We knew that BW couldn't, but we held onto him for too long. I hate to start the process over again, but I think it's what we have to do.
 
Obelix, can you elaborate? Do you feel that it is being viewed as Groce is too permissive? Doesn't have control of his players? What kind of turn for the worse could this takea? Just curious.
This year's performance has been bad, but at least Groce had the injury excuse to go along with it. The Black incidence though scratched all wounds, also bringing to light Paul's previous arrests, and other off court problems during Groce's tenure. The incident made front page national news, casting a cloud of lack of institutional control over the basketball program. That was IMO very damaging for Groce, something nobody expected.

If the charges get dropped/reduced with some kind of lesser probation plea deal (scenario that I expect) in the next 1-2 months or so, I expect Groce to be back. But if the fellony charge sticks, or more damaging facts/accounts emerge during the ongoing investigation, then all bets are off.
 
San Francisco
A vision for the department is a good thing. And MT's vision had an internal logic to it and is basically what a lot of different stakeholders have advocated for. And an AD should target coaches who they feel are a fit.

I just think it's an interesting thing to note in retrospect. I heard from someone who would know that Brad Stevens had some degree of interest in Illinois (the idea at the time was that he would never ever leave Butler - oops), but through his conversations with MT, he realized they didn't see eye-to-eye on the big picture vision for the program. Do I believe in my heart of hearts that a different AD would have landed Stevens? I kinda don't. But who knows.
Thanks for sharing all this - really interesting stuff.

The conventional wisdom is that Illinois couldn't attract better coaches when in fact it sounds like Mike Thomas couldn't attract better coaches to Illinois. I think there is a lot of truth to that. Unfortunately, we're now in a position where the former is probably more true than ever.

I do agree that you need a vision for the program. I just think MT failed to realize that tOSU isn't the right model. Wisconsin is probably a better model.
 
The conventional wisdom is that Illinois couldn't attract better coaches when in fact it sounds like Mike Thomas couldn't attract better coaches to Illinois. I think there is a lot of truth to that. Unfortunately, we're now in a position where the former is probably more true than ever.
Eh, I don't know if that's entirely fair. I think Illinois was a fine job then and its a fine job now, but it's hard to convince coaches with tons of options that we're a slam-dunk. That's true of most places.
 
This year's performance has been bad, but at least Groce had the injury excuse to go along with it. The Black incidence though scratched all wounds, also bringing to light Paul's previous arrests, and other off court problems during Groce's tenure. The incident made front page national news, casting a cloud of lack of institutional control over the basketball program. That was IMO very damaging for Groce, something nobody expected.

If the charges get dropped/reduced with some kind of lesser probation plea deal (scenario that I expect) in the next 1-2 months or so, I expect Groce to be back. But if the fellony charge sticks, or more damaging facts/accounts emerge during the ongoing investigation, then all bets are off.
Waiting 2+ months, firing Groce, then trying to hire a coach after every other school had chosen theirs would be a very Illinois thing to do.
 
Surprised there have been no leaks in the Black case.
I don't think it really matters. He is a first time offender and the state's attorney has already indicated that he is likely eligible for their first time offender diversion program. This case will not go to trial and he will not be pleading to a felony. I can safely predict that the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor, and that there likely will be a fine and/or community service and possibly even an imposition of supervision (as opposed to probation), which would allow the offense to be dismissed if he complies with all of the conditions of his supervision.
 
I don't think it really matters. He is a first time offender and the state's attorney has already indicated that he is likely eligible for their first time offender diversion program. This case will not go to trial and he will not be pleading to a felony. I can safely predict that the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor, and that there likely will be a fine and/or community service and possibly even an imposition of supervision (as opposed to probation), which would allow the offense to be dismissed if he complies with all of the conditions of his supervision.
Agreed. He didn't stab anyone. On a lighter note - sounds like he moved quickly to the knife so his timing must be back!
 
Tried to do some digging and read through Groce's contract details (published online).

It appears that termination without cause would lead to payments of 2x the "base salary" of $400,000 per year for all remaining years and partial years. As his contract runs through April 30, 2019 - my understanding is that termination after this year would result in $2.4M being paid to Groce (maybe a few thousand more depending on the timing of the termination).

Is $2.4M worth it? Consider that his current income is $1.7M and he is entitled to a bonus of $500K if he is still the coach after the '16-'17 season.

If so, how much does that leave you with on a budget to be able to pony up for the big names that some of us want to see in Champaign?
 
I don't think it really matters. He is a first time offender and the state's attorney has already indicated that he is likely eligible for their first time offender diversion program. This case will not go to trial and he will not be pleading to a felony. I can safely predict that the charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor, and that there likely will be a fine and/or community service and possibly even an imposition of supervision (as opposed to probation), which would allow the offense to be dismissed if he complies with all of the conditions of his supervision.
Not that it excuses Leron, but one of his mentors from Memphis passed away the day before the incident.

No idea what's going to happen next but I agree with Obelix that the severity of this situation is going to be a huge factor in Groce's future here.
 
That's a plane Josh Whitman would have to build while he's flying it. Which is why I don't think it's a good idea.
I guess my thought is that if you are comparing doing it this year to doing it after the '17 season, the savings of waiting the year is effectively only $300K off of the buyout. He'd get $1.6M on the buyout but also the $500K bonus for making it through the '16-'17 season.

It makes the answer not much easier if you run into another mediocre year next year. Just throwing that out there.
 
I guess my thought is that if you are comparing doing it this year to doing it after the '17 season, the savings of waiting the year is effectively only $300K off of the buyout. He'd get $1.6M on the buyout but also the $500K bonus for making it through the '16-'17 season.
There's a date certain on that $500k that's after the season, right? I thought that's what I'd read.

And my point was more about having a fundraising staff in place and having a feel for what possibilities are out there from a financial perspective.

Whitman is living in St. Louis as we speak. He's barely seen the books. He's hired exactly no one for the DIA so far. He would be flying blind in a coaching search. That doesn't mean we'd end up with Todd Lickliter or Dee Brown or Tracy Dildy or something, but it's a very sub-optimal situation.

No way to be sure whether the eventual hire would be better or not, but I guarantee the list of candidates would be broader, deeper, better understood and better vetted in 2017.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.