emfizz.com March 23, 2017

Underwood settles in at IL after 1 year at Oklahoma St

21 March 2017, 12:39 | Andy Ferguson

The Boise State Broncos will play Illinois for the first time since 2009 this Monday in the second round of the NIT. Dan Hawk

The Boise State Broncos will play Illinois for the first time since 2009 this Monday in the second round of the NIT.                      Dan Hawk

"I dream big and I dream bigger", said Underwood. The former football player has solidified himself into Illini lore by hiring and firing multiple coaches, including the school's most visible and important positions: football and men's basketball. "Brad's teams play a fast, aggressive style and show unyielding toughness". Underwood will just be a fan for that one and doesn't plan to be back in the same spot once he roams the sidelines at the State Farm Center. Off the court, Brad builds strong, personal relationships with his student-athletes. "His winning combination of strong Midwest values and tenacious work ethic are a flawless fit for our community and the Illini Nation".

Josh Whitman, director of athletics, introduces new Fighting Illini coach Brad Underwood on Monday, Mar 20 2017.

Underwood said Whitman's enthusiasm for the University made his choice easier. "Together, under his leadership, we have a championship future". It's one of the better jobs in the Big Ten. Black had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

On March 20, 2016, Brad Underwood's team lost an NCAA Tournament game by one point. Everybody knows he could be fired just as quickly as he left, and let's not pretend there isn't a big difference between $2.2 million and $3 million. They also contained the Broncos' guards in the second half.

"I believe in winning every game possible".

Underwood says he's never forgotten seeing the arena packed for high school tournament games and Illini games he saw as an assistant coach with Western Illinois.

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After uninspiring names like Monty Williams and Cuonzo Martin already were rumored to have been offered the job, a here-we-go-again feeling sat uneasily with IL fans who just suffered through the last four NCAA Tournament-less years of the John Groce experiment. "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 previous year".

"I think IL got a slam dunk of a hire, " said Carpenter. Before that he took Stephen F. Austin to two NCAA tournaments where his teams pulled off upsets over Virginia Commonwealth and West Virginia. His team lost to MI in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday. The Lumberjacks ranked seventh in the nation in field goal percentage (.487) and led the NCAA in assists (18.7 apg).

Underwood walked on Eddie Sutton Court for the first time as OSU's coach almost a year ago with a sly smile and an orange tie. From here, all focus should turn to the search for the next head coach.

While Underwood's IL career will not begin until the current NIT run ends, he is prepared to have success in Champaign.

His years as an assistant coach at Western Illinois from 1992 to 2003 were formative as well.

"When he was at Kansas State about five years ago, they had a couple of recruits that they were tracking in Central Illinois, " Jones said. "Looking forward to play for an awesome coach!"

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