CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Coming off one of the best Illinois Men’s Basketball seasons in more than a decade, head coach Brad Underwood has been rewarded with an extension until the 2026-27 season.
Underwood will make $4.1 million for the first two seasons of the new deal, which will rise to $4.5 million by the final year of the extension. The school says it will move him into the Top 10 highest paid coaches nationally. The first four seasons of the contract are fully guaranteed.
“It is the honor of a lifetime to be the head coach here at the University of Illinois,” said Underwood 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.”
“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,” said athletic director Josh Whitman 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. Coach, his staff and the players have relentlessly maintained their high expectations, and the results have followed, culminating with the most victories in the Big Ten Conference over the last two years, a 2021 Big Ten Tournament title, and an NCAA Tournament No. 1 seed.
“I am excited to continue working alongside him on this journey and look forward to his leadership over these next six years and beyond.”