Big Ten

Illini hire Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood as next head basketball coach

Illini hire Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood as next head basketball coach

Illinois' coaching search has reached a rapid end.

The Fighting Illini announced Oklahoma State's Brad Underwood the program's newest head basketball coach Saturday, finding John Groce's successor just a week after his five-season tenure came to an end.

"I am excited to welcome Brad Underwood, his wife Susan and their three children to the Fighting Illini family," Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman said in the announcement. "In searching for a new coach, we were looking for a proven winner who would build upon our proud tradition while developing an unmistakable identity for Illinois basketball. Brad's teams play a fast, aggressive style and show unyielding toughness. They have a tremendous energy that I believe will ignite the Orange Krush and our fans to once again make State Farm Center one of the most intimidating venues in all of college basketball. 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 perfect fit for our community and the Illini Nation."

Underwood just wrapped up his first season at Oklahoma State, taking over after three years at Stephen F. Austin, where he led the Lumberjacks to three straight NCAA tournament appearances.

The Cowboys were a No. 10 seed in this year's NCAA tournament, ousted Friday in a one-point loss to Illinois' Big Ten conferece-mate Michigan.

Underwood's Oklahoma State team ranked sixth nationally this season in scoring, averaging 85.7 points a game. The season before he took over, the Cowboys ranked 303rd nationally in scoring.

Underwood went 89-14 overall and 53-1 in conference games in his three seasons at Stephen F. Austin before posting a 20-13 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Big 12 play this season at Oklahoma State.

Prior to his days leading Stephen F. Austin, Underwood worked as a power-conference assistant at Kansas State and South Carolina under both Bob Huggins and Frank Martin. He also was an assistant coach at Western Illinois.

"Coaching basketball at the University of Illinois is a once-in-lifetime opportunity," Underwood said in the announcement. "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 last year. However, during my time at Western Illinois, I always saw the Illinois coaching job as one of the truly best in the nation. I want to thank Josh Whitman for the opportunity to join the Fighting Illini family and look forward to working with him to build a championship program. I can't wait to get started with our team. Next season can't get here fast enough for me."

Whitman tweeted this picture out Saturday afternoon.

Illinois' season is not yet over, the team still alive in the NIT. The Illini play Boise State on Monday in Champaign.

Big Ten to play conference-only NCAA football schedule 'if able'

Big Ten to play conference-only NCAA football schedule 'if able'

The Big Ten announced on Thursday that they will not play any non-conference games this fall, if they’re able to play at all.

The move comes after the Ivy League cancelled all fall sports earlier in the week.

In the statement the Big Ten said, “By limiting competition to other Big Ten institutions, the Conference will have the greatest flexibility to adjust its own operations throughout the season and make quick decisions in real-time based on the most current evolving medical advice and the fluid nature of the pandemic.

“In addition, the Conference announced that summer athletic activities will continue to be voluntary in all sports currently permitted to engage in such activities. Furthermore, Big Ten student-athletes who choose not to participate in intercollegiate athletics at any time during the summer and/or the 2020-21 academic year due to concerns about COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarship honored by their institution and will remain in good standing with their team.”

The Big Ten also said they’re prepared to cancel their fall sports entirely, if needed to ensure the health and safety of student-athletes.

This all leads to more questions as to how the Big Ten schedule will ultimately take shape. For instance, the first three games on the University of Illinois’s schedule are all non-conference games. Will more in-conference games be scheduled to replace them, or will the Fighting Illini simply begin their season on Oct. 3 with their first conference game against Rutgers?

All of that remains to be seen, as the conference said more details regarding the conference-only schedule will be released later.


RELATED: Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

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USA Today

Northwestern football will not host Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field

Northwestern football will no longer host their game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Wrigley Field. The university announced the decision on Wednesday.

The Wildcats were supposed to play the Badgers at the Friendly Confines on Nov. 7. Although the university didn’t officially announce it, team's website says the game will be played at Ryan Field.

“This is a disappointing conclusion to reach, but absolutely the right one in our current environment,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. “The uncertainty of football and baseball schedules, and the possibility of limited attendance, made this an easy choice to make for our student-athletes and fans.

“We’re grateful for our outstanding partners from the Cubs, and look forward to bringing the passion and pageantry of college football gameday to the city’s north side when we can do so safely and securely with a packed house.”

Northwestern initially brought college football back to Wrigley in 2010. Previously the last college football game at Wrigley was played in 1938. Since then, Northwestern has hosted both lacrosse and baseball games at Clark and Addison.

The university is still on track to kick off their season on Sept. 5 at Michigan State.

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