Illinois hires Ohio's Groce to replace fired Weber

by | CBSSports.com College Basketball Insider
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John Groce made a name for himself in the Big Ten as Thad Matta's lead recruiter. (Getty Images)  
John Groce made a name for himself in the Big Ten as Thad Matta's lead recruiter. (Getty Images)  

Ohio University's John Groce is headed to Illinois.

Sources told CBSSports.com that Groce, who led the Bobcats to the Sweet 16 this season, will replace Bruce Weber in Champaign.

Groce is expected to meet with his team Thursday and a news conference at Illinois is expected by the end of week.

VCU coach Shaka Smart was AD Mike Thomas' first choice, but Smart spurned the Illini last week. Thomas then, through search firm Parker Executive Search firm, reached out to Butler's Brad Stevens to gauge his interest. Stevens also declined.

Groce, who has led Ohio to a pair of NCAA tournament appearances in his four-year tenure at Ohio, emerged shortly after his team lost to North Carolina in overtime in the Sweet 16. Groce was best-known for being the lead recruiter and landing Greg Oden and Mike Conley when he was an assistant for Thad Matta at Ohio State.

Groce, 40, also worked with Matta at Butler and Xavier. He has a 85-56 mark at Ohio, including 70-39 in the past three years.

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