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Groce Named New Illini Basketball Coach

Last updated on Friday, March 30, 2012

(CHAMPAIGN, IL) - Danville, Indiana native John Groce is the new men’s basketball coach at the University of Illinois.

The 40-year-old Groce was introduced at a news conference Thursday afternoon in Champaign. He joins the Illini after spending four seasons at Ohio University.

Groce led the Bobcats to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament this season before they fell to number-one seed North Carolina in overtime last week.

Groce played collegiately at Taylor University and began his coaching career at his alma mater. He also spent one season as an assistant coach at Butler under Thad Matta, moving with Matta to Xavier and then to Ohio State before taking the Ohio job in 2008.

Groce replaces Bruce Weber, who was fired after the Illini went 17-and-15 this season but lost twelve of their final 14 games. Weber spent 18 seasons as an assistant coach at Purdue under Gene Keady before moving on to become head coach at Southern Illinois in 1998. He became head coach at Illinois in 2003.

Other coaches who reportedly turned down the chance to be Weber's successor with the Illini include Butler's Brad Stevens and V-C-U's Shaka Smart.

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