New Head Coach Brings Excitement To Illini Fans
URBANA, Ill. (WCCU) —
It's not just coaches and players who are looking forward to the newest Illini basketball team hire, but also the fans. Many fans tell us they are excited about this new chapter in Illini men’s basketball.
Fans cheered on the new face of the Illini basketball program, Brad Underwood, at a press conference Monday.
After fans witnessed a handful of unsuccessful seasons, some fans are hopeful Underwood is the right fit.
"I couldn't be much more excited,” fan Shane Allen said. “I mean it’s definitely something that obviously I enjoy, offensive style of basketball, so that’s [what] he's going to bring to the floor.”
"I think that he's good at teaching, and I think he'll be a great teacher for us and make us a winner and continue being a winner,” Leonard Seward, a long-time U of I basketball fan, said.
But with the new coach and a new future for the Illini, some fans have questions.
"He’s getting enough money he could live on that the rest of his life if he wanted to,” Seward said.
When the last head coach, John Groce, was let go, he didn't live out the rest of his contract. That means the Illini Athletic Department had to buy him out at $1.7 million, which could be considered lost money.
Officials say even though they try to minimize situations like this, in order to be competitive it's something that has to happen.
"I think that ultimately people, um while they don't want to have to pay that extra money, I think it's a necessary evil, something we got to do in order to move forward,” Allen said.
The good news for fans, who are hoping to see success once again, is it looks as if they may get what they asked for.
"I think as you look out today and see him, his enthusiasm for what the program can return to,” Illini basketball fan Justin Deatley said.