CHAMPAIGN/URBANA, Ill. (Heartland Newsfeed/Ambush Sports) — Brad Underwood will remain the head coach of the University of Illinois’ men’s basketball program for at least another three years on top of his current contract.
Underwood was granted a three-year extension through 2026 on Monday, following an impressive 20-9 campaign (12-6 Big Ten, tied with Michigan State and Wisconsin) so far in the 2019-20 season that could launch them into their first Big Ten Championship in 15 years — when Bruce Weber was coach in 2005 — as well as the March Madness tournament picture.
Underwood’s renewed contract increases his base salary to $3.4 million per year, with annual increases that will result in a $4 million salary for the 2025-26 season. The original contract was set to end at the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.
“I am extremely pleased with the upward trajectory of our Fighting Illini men’s basketball program and believe we are headed toward a championship future,” Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman said in a statement. “Under Coach Underwood’s leadership, our student-athletes have shown steady progress on the court and in the classroom.
“He has instilled a culture based on competitiveness, toughness, preparation, and accountability that is yielding exciting results,” Whitman continued. “His ability to project a vision for the program’s future, to recruit elite players to Champaign-Urbana, and to develop them into a winning team has exceeded even my admittedly high expectations at this relatively early stage in his tenure.”
Underwood is 46-48 (23-33) as head coach in Illinois since signing with the Illini in 2017 following his departure from Oklahoma State. Including his tenures at Stephen F. Austin and Oklahoma State, Underwood’s career as a head coach currently stands at 156-75 (23-33 Big Ten, 53–1 Southland, 9-9 Big 12) with four March Madness appearances.
The extension will still need approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees, which meets on March 12.
Extensions through 2022 have also been granted for Underwood’s assistant coaches Orlando Antigua, Jamall Walker, Ron Coleman and Stephen Gentry.
Illinois’ remaining regular-season games are against Ohio State on Thursday (6 p.m. Eastern, ESPN) and Iowa on Sunday (6 p.m., Big Ten Network).
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.