Illinois Men’s Basketball Coach Brad Underwood extended through 2027

University of Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman announced last week that men’s basketball head coach Brad Underwood will be extended through the 2027 season.

Underwood was brought on back in 2017, and after a rough first two seasons, he’s brought the Illini back to national relevance. Illinois went 24-7 last year, capturing the Big Ten Tournament Title for the first time in over 15 years and earned a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

“It is the honor of a lifetime to be the head coach here at the University of Illinois,” Underwood said in a statement. “The history, the players, and the passionate fan base are part of what makes this job so special. I’m proud of our players and staff for what we’ve accomplished to date. But to be blunt, that’s over. We are in a hyper-competitive climate where anyone who rests on accomplishments gets left behind. So we have to keep pushing forward. Yet the foundation of our philosophy remains. We will work — in the classroom, in the community, and in the gym — with relentless effort. That is the process for producing Every Day Guys who will compete at a championship level. We are excited to work together to accomplish these lofty goals.”

Their appearance in the big dance last year marked the first time the Illini had made it to the NCAA Tournament in eight years, although they were destined to end that drought in 2020 had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was just four years ago that we brought Coach Underwood here with the vision he and I shared of returning Illinois Basketball to national prominence, and he has delivered,” Whitman said in a statement. “The ‘Every Day Guys’ culture he has developed defines our locker room and permeates every facet of the program. Coach’s tenants of hard work, accountability, toughness and team-first mindset are just a few of the principles he has instilled in our student-athletes. Knowing Brad as I do, he remains focused on the future, determined to elevate our program to new heights. He is as steadfast in his quest to build a championship program here at the University of Illinois as he was on March 18, 2017.”

Underwood also produced two All-Americans this past season with both Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn taking those honors. Dosunmu was taken in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft by his hometown Chicago Bulls, Illinois’ first draft selection since Meyers Leonard. After testing the draft waters and the transfer portal, Cockburn decided to return for another season. The Illini also return a host of super seniors including Trent Frazier and Da’Monte Williams, plus reigning Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year, Andre Curbelo. They will be poised for another finish atop the Big Ten again in 2022.