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‘I have blood, sweat and tears there’: Illini alum Chester Frazier returning as assistant coach

Frazier is coming back to Champaign.

NCAA Basketball: Clemson at Virginia Tech Michael Thomas Shroyer-USA TODAY Sports

Less than an hour after Brad Underwood officially announced the departure of assistants Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman, the Illini had at least one new assistant.

Illinois is hiring Virginia Tech associate head coach Chester Frazier, who played for the Illini from 2005-09.

“We are thrilled to welcome Chester Frazier back to the University of Illinois and add one of the brightest young stars in the profession to our staff,” Underwood said in a statement Thursday night. “Chester’s love for his alma mater has stayed with him throughout his brilliant rise in the coaching ranks. This place means a great deal to him, having sweat equity in our program. Chester is a leader, a competitor, and a winner. He’s achieved great success, as a player here and as a coach at both Kansas State and Virginia Tech. His work ethic on the court and on the recruiting trail, combined with the strong relationships he builds with players, make him a tremendous addition to the Fighting Illini.”

Frazier began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Illinois before coaching for seven seasons at Kansas State under former Illini head man Bruce Weber.

“I am thankful to Coach Young and the Virginia Tech players and staff for everything these last two years, and move on knowing that I’ve played a part in helping move that program forward,” Frazier said. “Having said that, I am honored and excited to get back to the University of Illinois, which I consider home. I have blood, sweat, and tears invested there, met my wife there, and deep down still bleed Orange and Blue. I am motivated to get to work and help our program win a Big Ten championship. It escaped me as a player – I finished second twice – so that is going to be what drives me every day, bringing a trophy home to Champaign.”

A four-year letterman and two-time captain for the Illini, Frazier helped Illinois to 89 wins, including three 20-win season, and three trips to the NCAA Tournament. He still ranks seventh in program history in career assists (484) and ninth in career assists per game (3.9).

While Frazier never made it to the NBA, he played professionally in Germany for Goettingen (2009-10) and then for S. Oliver Baskets Wuerzburg Basketball Club (2011-12).

The Illini still have one open staff position to currently fill.