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University of Akron Zips blog

Groce headed to Illinois

By Mike Rasor Published: March 29, 2012

Men's basketball

Illinois will announce John Groce as its new head coach this afternoon.

Ohio University attempted to raise enough money to keep Groce in Athens, but apparently, the program fell short.

Groce will replace Bruce Weber, who was fired after his Illini finished the season with a 2-12 record.

Groce was the third option for Illinois, after it was rebuffed by Brad Stevens (Butler) and Shaka Smart (VCU). The Illini's athletic director is former Akron athletic director Mike Thomas.

Much like Kent State last season, Ohio will need to find a coach to gel with a large group of soon-to-be seniors, including guards D.J. Cooper and Walter Offutt. (Unlike the departure of Geno Ford, the Bobcats players met with Groce this morning.)

Before the announcement, Groce's team leaders tweeted the following:

Offutt: I love you Coach Groce hope you know that

Cooper: #inGroceWeTrust

 

The big questions are: Who will replace Groce? And what will that do to the Bobcats' hopes in 2012-13?

One candidate should be Jeff Boals, the former Akron assistant who is coaching Ohio State under Thad Matta in the Final Four. Boals is an Ohio alumnus.

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