Rarely, if ever, is the hiring or firing of an assistant coach be newsworthy, but there are a precious few assistants out there that deserve the press.
One of those assistants is Jerrance Howard, who had spent the last four years as an assistant on Bruce Weber’s staff at Illinois and who served as the interim head coach during Illinois’ coaching search. On Tuesday, the decision was made by new Illini coach John Groce to let Howard go.
“I made the decision that I’m going to hire outside,” Groce said.
Howard has built up a solid reputation for his ability to recruit, especially in the Chicago area, a city that is producing as much basketball talent as any region in the country. Being able to pull talented players out of the area is valuable for any program, especially Illinois, but Groce felt like he had enough familiarity with the city thanks to his time at Ohio and as an assistant at Ohio State.
The decision wasn’t exactly a popular one in Champaign. Howard was a fan favorite when he played for the Illini.
One potential landing spot for Howard could be Kentucky if a spot opens up on John Calipari’s staff. Orlando Antigua may be the guy that ends up leaving, if he gets the head coaching job at Duquesne. Howard was the Director of Basketball Operations for the Wildcats back in 2007.