Report: Deal done, John Groce set to become next coach at Illinois

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The long coaching search at Illinois has reportedly come to an end, as the Illini have finalized a deal with Ohio head coach John Groce, reports Jeff Goodman of

Groce had an overall record of 85-56 in four seasons with Ohio, including a Sweet 16 run this season.

According to the Chicago Tribune, talks had been delayed over the past few days because of contract disagreements, but Goodman’s report indicates that those problems have been ironed out and Groce is headed to Champaign.

As strong mid-major coaches like Brad Stevens and Shaka Smart have stayed put at their respective schools over the past two years, it has caused David Haugh of the Tribune to wonder if Illinois is really the elite job that it perceives itself to be.

Groce will receive a considerable pay bump by moving to Illinois, reportedly as much as three times as much as he would make by staying with Ohio.

The Tribune reports that the main variable holding up the finalization of the contract was the length, with Groce looking for an eight year deal, and Illinois willing to sign him for five or six years.

Keep in mind that Bruce Weber is still due $3.9 million over the next three seasons, after getting dismissed from Illinois.

Prior to his tenure at Ohio, Groce was a Division I assistant at Ohio State, Xavier, Butler, and NC State.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_