Illinois Hires John Groce As New Basketball Coach

Illinois AD Mike Thomas finally has his man in former Ohio coach John Groce.

Illinois has hired John Groce to be its new head basketball coach, according to an official at the university.

Groce, who had been the head coach at Ohio, will be introduced at a 2 p.m. ET press conference at Assembly Hall on Thursday.

Groce replaces Bruce Weber, who was fired on March 9 after nine seasons at Illinois. Weber led the Illini to the 2005 national championship game and the 2004 Sweet 16 in his first two seasons, but didn't make it past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament after that. After a promising start to the season, Illinois lost 12 of its final 14 games and was left out of the big dance for the third time during Weber's tenure.

Groce, who was hired at Ohio in 2008, led the Bobcats to the NCAA Tournament twice and won games there both times. This season he took Ohio to the Sweet 16, where top-seeded North Carolina needed overtime to keep the the Bobcats from becoming the first 13-seed ever to advance to a regional final.

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

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