(WCIA) — Former Illini assistant coach Stephen Gentry was officially named to the Gonzaga Basketball staff this morning as an assistant coach. He joins the team he once played for, after a four year career with the Zags.
Prior to arriving on Illinois’ staff he spent two years in Spokane as the Director of Operations. Now he gets to return in a coaching role under head coach Mark Few.
“Best wishes to Coach Gentry as he returns to his alma mater, Gonzaga University,” says Illinois head coach Brad Underwood in a statement. “He played a big role in our success, with his time here ranking as the winningest two-year Big Ten run in Illini history. Stephen and I go back a long way; he is a driven, details-oriented coach with a great mind for the game. Gent will remain a close friend and basketball confidant, as I know he will be keeping an eye on the Fighting Illini from Spokane.”
Underwood now has to replace all three of his assistants from last season–after Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman left for Kentucky. He says all the success they had this year has paved the way to an offseason full of transition.
“We’re not going through any of this if we finished eight or 10th…you guys would probably be talking to somebody else,” says Underwood. “Coaches are going to move on when you’re successful, guys are going to become head coaches and move. I try to just always be prepared for that, I’m as observant as anybody on the road so that I’ve always got a pretty good idea in terms of what direction I need to go if I have those openings.”
Underwood has filled two of his three coaching roles by hiring Chester Frazier, and promoting Geoff Alexander.