The college basketball coaching carousel spun a little more Wednesday afternoon as Cuonzo Martin reportedly left his head coaching job at Cal to take the same position at Missouri.
But … was Martin close to coming to the Big Ten instead?
According to Evan Daniels of Scout, Illinois offered Martin its head coaching job. However, he passed on it for a seven-year/$21 million contract with Mizzou. ESPN’s Paul Finebaum reported the deal Illinois offered was for $18 million.
SOURCE: Cuonzo Martin turned down an $18 million dollar contract from Illinois
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) March 15, 2017
Illinois fired John Groce last week after five season. The Illini were 95-75 in his tenure.
So with Martin off the table, where could the Illini turn? And how wide could they open their wallets?
Sam Snelling of SB Nation said there’s a chance Illinois could offer a monster contract to Virginia coach Tony Bennett.
Here’s what I know, Illinois is talking about offering $4.8m/yr to Tony Bennett, they aren’t talking about offering half that for Cuonzo
— Sam Snelling (@SamTSnelling) March 15, 2017
It will be interesting to see where the Illinois coaching search goes. It’s the only men’s basketball vacancy in the Big Ten — for now.