March 23, 2017

Oklahoma State Basketball: Brad Underwood bails on Cowboys

21 March 2017, 12:40 | Pamela Mathis

Former SFA coach headed to Big 10 after one year with OSU Cowboys

Illinois says it has hired Brad Underwood as coach

Losing is not an option.

Underwood, 53, was introduced Monday at the State Farm Center as the new IL basketball coach, tasked with rebuilding and revitalizing what has wilted over years into a dormant Big Ten program.

Underwood previously coached at Stephen F. Austin for three seasons, taking the Lumberjacks to the tournament each season. He called the chance to lead the Fighting Illini a "once in a lifetime opportunity".

A member of OSU's athletic department said Underwood met with OSU Athletic Director Mike Holder about 2:45 p.m. Saturday and resigned. Hey, I've oversteered on the highway, and honestly, I believe it is why I'm here and alive to write this story. 25, which included a pair of five-game winning streaks. I think every season, an identity develops about who you are and what we're capable of doing.

Saturday afternoon, Underwood told Holder that he was leaving to become Illinois' new coach. Now Illinois owes OSU $3 million for bagging Underwood. With the win and a new coach, the Broncos are bringing their A-game, according to Head Coach Leon Rice. But, Brad is a tremendous person, first of all. "But Brad's a really good guy and done a great job". I think IL fans are going to appreciate that.

During that same press conference, he explained that the game is different than it once was, pointing to the use of analytics to gain a competitive advantage.

Underwood laid out his basic approach and the one thing that IL fans will see right away is that this Illini program will have an identity. "He is very easy to play for".

"To me, he is the total package".

Underwood has had two head coaching stints in the junior college ranks, compiling a 70-24 record at Daytona Beach (2003-06) and a 62-60 mark at Dodge City (1988-92).

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Former Illinois coach Lou Henson, a Hall of Famer, was also described that way when he took over the Illini program.

As a 14-year-old in a small Kansas town of 13,000, Brad Underwood created his first job mowing neighbors' yards.

"It takes years and years to develop tradition, and the Ibas and the Suttons, that's as big as it gets", Underwood said then.

In a statement IL released Saturday, Underwood spoke of his new employer with the same admiration he did at OSU as if it were a game of Mad Libs. That was the freshman season for Dee Brown, Deron Williams and James Augustine. Now the Cowboys are without a coach and without much hope that the renaissance will last.

"It's kind of ironic that it's come full circle". Underwood will just be a fan for that one and doesn't plan to be back in the same spot once he roams the sidelines at the State Farm Center. "He's paid his dues".

Prior to taking over at Stephen F. Austin, Underwood served the 2013 season as associate head coach at SC under Frank Martin.

"He's shown he can coach kids at any level". Underwood will also have $850,000 for three on-court assistants. and said he'll talk to interim coach Jamall Walker about staying on his staff.

Underwood was a Kansas State graduate, and Wildcat fans were hopeful that their school would fire Bruce Weber and figure out a way to hire Underwood, but his contract had a prohibitive buyout clause if he moved to a Big 12 school. "When he came into the area to watch them, he tried to make sure that we got together for lunch or something".

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