NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 16: Head coach John Groce of the Ohio Bobcats celebrates with D.J. Cooper #5 after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the second round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bridgestone Arena on March 16, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Illinois Finds Its Man: Ohio's John Groce Hired As Head Coach

After firing Bruce Weber, the Illinois Fighting Illini have hired Ohio Bobcats head coach John Gorce to lead the program.

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Brad Stevens Staying At Butler, Reportedly Turns Down Lucrative Illinois Offer

Brad Stevens will not be the next Illinois coach, nor will he entertain any other offers this offseason, he said in a statement released by Butler on Sunday. Stevens was reportedly at the top of the Illini's list after VCU head coach Shaka Smart mulled over an offer and turned it down.

According to Shannon Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, Illinois was serious in its pursuit of Stevens.

Sources told the Tribune that Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas made a serious run at Stevens, working on a package that matched his current contract in length, securing him through 2021-22, and substantially increased his salary. One source said the price tag is around $21 million for an 8-year contract.

And here's Stevens' statement in full.

"I am happy and extremely grateful to be the head coach at Butler University, and I am already looking forward to next season and the start of our postseason workouts in April."

Illinois will now pursue Ohio head coach John Groce, Ryan also reports.

For more updates on this story, be sure to visit Hail to the Orange.

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