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Illinois Fires Head Coach John Groce

After five seasons as head coach of the Illinois men's basketball team, John Groce has been fired.

According to Sports Illustrated's Brian Hamilton, Illinois has fired John Groce after five seasons.

From Illinois' release on the news:

"I want to thank John Groce and his staff for their tireless efforts over these past five years," Whitman said. "In many ways, John is a model leader. He exudes optimism and tackles every day with unbelievable energy. He has the highest integrity. He has been an active presence in our community and a strong public ambassador for Illinois Basketball. Most importantly, he loves his players unconditionally and helps them develop into young men prepared for the next stages of their lives. Our student-athletes are having a positive experience, achieving record heights in the classroom, and leaving campus as proud graduates with bright futures.

"Under his leadership, regrettably, we were not able to sustain the level of competitive excellence that we expect at the University of Illinois," Whitman continued. "But that should do nothing to detract from the many wonderful things John has done on behalf of Illinois Basketball during his tenure. We wish John, Allison, and their three children nothing but the best, and we thank his staff and their families as well for their many contributions to our program. All will be missed."

Groce took over in 2012, compiling a 95-75 record with the Fighting Illini. He was 37-53 in Big Ten play. In his first season as head coach, he led the Illini to a Round of 32 berth, followed by two consecutive NIT bids in 2014 and 2015.

Groce has two years remaining in his contract, and will receive the $1.7 million payment he is owed.

In the meantime, assistant coach Jamall Walker will serve as interim head coach.