Illinois Fires Men’s Basketball Coach

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP)- Illinois basketball coach John Groce has been fired after the team finished 18-14 this season and ninth in the Big Ten.

Assistant Jamall Walker has been appointed interim coach while the school searchers for a successor.

Athletic director Josh Whitman on Saturday praised Groce’s leadership but said the team was not able to sustain a level of “competitive excellence.”

Groce was 95-75 overall and 37-53 in Big Ten play in his five seasons. The Illini were 8-10 in the conference this season. They ended the regular season with a loss to last-place Rutgers and lost 75-55 to Michigan in their conference tournament opener.

Groce led the Illini to 23 victories and a win in the NCAA Tournament in 2013, his first season. NIT bids followed in 2014 and 2015.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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