On Thursday, fightingillini.com announced that the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved a one-year contract extension for head coach John Groce. This extension keeps Groce with the Orange & Blue through the 2018-19 season and gives him a $100,000 raise.
Since becoming Illinois head coach in 2012, John Groce has led the team to back-to-back 20-win seasons and postseason appearances.
Here’s what AD Mike Thomas had to say on the one-year extension for Groce:
“John Groce has done an excellent job in his first two years as Illinois basketball coach, so we are pleased to extend his contract and continue our commitment to him and this program in its pursuit of championships. He has been tremendous in every facet of the job, from coaching and mentoring our players to recruiting, supporting the academic mission of our university, assisting in the State Farm Center renovation project, being involved in the community and engaging with our outstanding fans. The future is bright for Fighting Illini basketball under Coach Groce’s leadership.”
When you look at it, it’s funny to see the polar opposites which are Illinois’ football and basketball situations.
Both John Groce and Tim Beckman are two seasons in to their Illinois coaching careers and sit on opposition ends of the spectrum.
Beckman enters his third season on the “hot seat” while Groce will enter his third season with yet another contract extension.
So, how has John Groce been able to earn two contract extensions after two season in Champaign?
Well, for starters, he’s made it to some kind of postseason tournament twice. Even though the team only made the NIT Postseason Tournament, it is still a positive in the eyes of the Illini faithful.
Groce has also set the tone for his Illini team since coming in the door. From the Seal Training during the offseason to his overall emphasis on defense, John Groce has an identity and has shaped the environment for his basketball team.
John Groce has even shown positives in recruiting. He’s seemed to form a “pipeline” with Simeon High School in Chicago and has targeted some of the top recruits from across the country.
The only negative spot on Coach Groce’s resume at Illinois has been the team’s record against the Big Ten. He is 15-21 in Big Ten play after two season, and the Fighting Illini even had an eleven-game span last season where they went 1-10 which featured an eight-game losing streak.
There’s no doubt that the future looks bright for Illinois Basketball, and Illini Nation should be glad to have Groce as their head coach through 2018-19.
Here’s what John Groce had to say about his extension:
“We remain excited about the future of Illinois basketball. So much of the credit goes to the young men in our program who believe in our vision and are working to achieve the high standards we set in all areas both on the court and in the classroom. But I always say `It takes a village’ and I truly believe that. It takes everyone involved to accomplish our goals and we have incredible support here at the University of Illinois, led by President Bob Easter, Chancellor Phyllis Wise and Director of Athletics Mike Thomas. Their leadership is integral in our daily pursuit of building a program that will compete at the highest level.”
What do you think, Illini Nation? What’s your take on the John Groce extension?
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