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Saturday, April 13, 2013
John Groce gets raise, extension

By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com

Illinois announced a one-year contract extension and salary raise for men's basketball coach John Groce on Saturday.

The contract, pending the school's board of trustees' approval, would keep Groce with the Illini through the 2017-18 season and raise his annual salary by $200,000 to $1.6 million.

Groce was hired prior to the 2012-13 season and led Illinois to a 23-13 record, 8-10 in the Big Ten and to the NCAA tournament in his first year.

The Illini lost to Miami (Fla.) in the tournament's round of 32. Illinois also won its first 12 non-conference games and rose as high as No. 10 in the AP poll.

"We are pleased to extend John Groce's contract by a year and reward him for an outstanding job in his first season at Illinois," Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said in a statement. "The arrow is definitely pointing up for Fighting Illini basketball, and this helps solidify the commitment by both the university and John to continue moving the program to a championship level."

Groce said in a statement Saturday he was excited about his future at Illinois.

"This was one of the most gratifying seasons of my career because of how much I enjoyed coaching this group of players," Groce said in a statement. "They bought in from day one, had great attitudes, and gave tremendous effort which allowed us to have success.

"We are very excited about the direction Illinois basketball is moving. Our staff and players will continue to work tirelessly to reach the championship-level standards we have set for our program on the court, off the court and in the classroom. When you combine the world-class academic reputation of the University of Illinois with the outstanding support of president Bob Easter, chancellor Phyllis Wise, director of athletics Mike Thomas, the DIA and our other campus administration, we feel like we have all the pieces in place here to compete at the highest level."

Groce has continued to build momentum from his first season by securing a 2013 recruiting class ranked No. 18 by ESPN.

The class consists of five high school seniors, including ESPN top-100 players Kendrick Nunn and Malcolm Hill.

Seton Hall sophomore guard Aaron Cosby also announced Friday he was transferring to Illinois next season.