Illinois fires John Groce after 37-53 Big Ten mark in five seasons

Illinois fired John Groce on Saturday -- two days after the Illini lost to Michigan in their Big Ten Tournament opener.

“Under [Groce’s] leadership, regrettably, we were not able to sustain the level of competitive excellence that we expect at the University of Illinois,” athletic director Josh Whitman said. “But that should do nothing to detract from the many wonderful things John has done on behalf of Illinois Basketball during his tenure. We wish John, Allison, and their three children nothing but the best, and we thank his staff and their families as well for their many contributions to our program.”

Groce was 95-75 in five seasons at Illinois, 37-53 in the Big Ten. The former Ohio coach made the NCAA Tournament in his first season, then missed it four straight seasons. The Illini (18-14, 8-10 Big Ten) were on the NCAA Tournament bubble until they closed with losses to Rutgers and Michigan.

Illinois fired Groce despite him having a top-15 recruiting class set to enroll.

Sources have told CBS Sports that Cuonzo Martin, who is in his third season at California, will be a candidate for this job and for the Missouri job. Martin is from East St. Louis, Illinois. So he has obvious ties to the area.

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Gary Parrish is an award-winning college basketball columnist and television analyst for CBS Sports who also hosts the highest-rated afternoon drive radio show in Memphis, where he lives with his wife... Full Bio

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