Illinois’ coaching search is barely an hour old, and we already have our first rejection.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo’s The Vertical reports that Illinois is willing to make Spurs vice president of basketball operations and former New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans head coach Monty Williams one of the highest-paid coaches in the NCAA, but he’ll pass in favor of seeking another head NBA gig.
Sources: Illinois willing to make Monty Williams one of NCAA’s top paid coaches, but he'll pass. He’s focused on prompt NBA coaching return.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) March 11, 2017
Illinois parted ways with coach John Groce earlier Saturday afternoon, ending a five-year tenure that saw the Illini go 95-75 with a single NCAA Tournament appearance. That appearance came in Groce’s first year, so it’s been a four-year dance drought for the Illini. Illinois went 18-14 this season but lost to Rutgers to end the regular season and had its season ended by Michigan on Thursday in its Big Ten Tournament opener.
The bad news for Illinois fans is that one of their program’s top choices has already said no, but it should be encouraging that the pocketbook seems to be so open.