UPDATE (4:25pm CT): According to multiple reports, N.C. State has hired Kevin Keatts.
NC State has reportedly agreed to hire UNC Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts:https://t.co/IxJXN05D7u— SB Nation (@SBNation) March 17, 2017
UNC Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts is considered by many to be an attractive fallback coaching option for Illinois basketball, but the program’s continued pursuit of better candidates may prevent any preliminary negotiations from taking place.
According to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, Keatts has emerged as a top candidate for the N.C. State job, and he’ll be in Raleigh on Friday for an interview.
NC State will meet today with UNC-Wilmington's Kevin Keatts, per multiple sources. Has emerged as a primary candidate to fill vacancy.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 17, 2017
Keatts, a former Louisville assistant, has just completed his third season as a collegiate head coach. He’s amassed a 72-28 overall record, three CAA Conference championships, and two NCAA Tournament appearances in that short time frame.
UNC Wilmington’s impressive 2016-17 season ended with a narrow 76-71 first round loss to No. 5 seed Virginia in the NCAA Tournament.
It’s clear that Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman has been aiming higher throughout this job search, however it’s a bit worrying that some of the notable ‘Tier B’ options are beginning to disappear. Of course, this becomes a moot point if the Fighting Illini are indeed able to land a name like Tony Bennett or Gregg Marshall.