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Whitman wastes little time, picks Brad Underwood to head Illini basketball program

Brad Underwood was coaching the Oklahoma State Cowboys just about this time yesterday. Fast forward 24 hours and Josh Whitman got his next head coach thanks to the Pokes loss to Michigan.

According to reports, Underwood has agreed to terms to become the next head coach at the University of Illinois.

“I am excited to welcome Brad Underwood, his wife Susan, and their three children to the Fighting Illini family,” Whitman said in a press release. “In searching for a new coach, we were looking for a proven winner who would build upon our proud tradition while developing an unmistakable identity for Illinois Basketball.

“Brad’s teams play a fast, aggressive style and show unyielding toughness. They have a tremendous energy that I believe will ignite the Orange Krush and our fans to once again make State Farm Center one of the most intimidating venues in all of college basketball.”

Underwood has a long reputation of building quality programs. He took Stephen F. Austin to three straight NCAA tournaments before taking the Oklahoma State job this past year.

So, why leave the Pokes after just one season? It appears his ties to the state of Illinois were a huge factor in this quick of a jump.

“Coaching basketball at the University of Illinois is a once-in-lifetime opportunity,” Underwood said. “The players, fans and administration at Oklahoma State have been absolutely incredible, and I want to thank them for the support they’ve given me and my family over the last year. However, during my time at Western Illinois, I always saw the Illinois coaching job as one of the truly best in the nation.”

Underwood was an assistant coach at Western Illinois from 1992-2003 before taking his second head coaching gig at Daytona Beach Community College.

There are also reports of a strained relationship between Underwood and Oklahoma State athletic director Mike Holder.

Underwood will be introduced to the media on Monday at noon CT and we will have live coverage.

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He’s a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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