Brad Underwood is going to be the Illini’s basketball coach for a while.
Athletic Director Josh Whitman announced a contract extension for the third-year head coach through 2026 on Monday afternoon.
I am so proud to be your coach, #ILLINI Nation.— Brad Underwood (@CoachUnderwood) March 2, 2020
Let’s continue on the path to greatness together!! #EveryDayGuys https://t.co/aXqjNAIcs5
The extension is pending approval by the UI Board of Trustees at its meeting on March 12.
According to a release, Underwood signed a six-year deal when he was brought to Champaign in March 2017.
Whitman released a statement on the extension Monday afternoon.
”I am extremely pleased with the upward trajectory of our Fighting Illini men’s basketball program and believe we are headed toward a championship future. Under Coach Underwood’s leadership, our student-athletes have showed steady progress on the court and in the classroom. He has instilled a culture based on competitiveness, toughness, preparation, and accountability that is yielding exciting results. His ability to project a vision for the program’s future, to recruit elite players to Champaign-Urbana, and to develop them into a winning team has exceeded even my admittedly high expectations at this relatively early stage in his tenure. Perhaps most importantly, I have enjoyed seeing the bonds formed between players and players and players and coaches, all of whom care deeply about one another, who are committed to their collective successes, and who support each other, on the court and off, in victory and defeat.
Underwood’s new contract moves his base salary to $3.4 million, per the release. His salary will grow to $4 million for the 2025-26 season. If he accepts a position elsewhere, he would owe the University an $8 million buyout.
Obviously we had gripes with Brad his first two seasons as the Illini finished with sub-.500 records, but he changed his system this year and Illinois is bound to snap its NCAA Tournament skid.