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|Illini Coaches Make Stop in Galesburg
|POSTED 3:14pm 5/29/12 The University of Illinois I Fund caravan made a stop in Galesburg Tuesday afternoon to promote help in funding Illini athletic programs. The event featured Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas and new women's head basketball coach Matt Bollant as the speakers. New head football coach Tim Beckman was scheduled to attend but was under the weather.
Thomas cited the university's academic reputation as a major factor in him coming to Champaign-Urbana. He stated that the university is one of the top academic institutions in the country and his goal is for the athletic programs to be on par nationally with the academics. One of the major projects in the near future is renovating and updating Assembly Hall. Thomas says they want to make it more fan friendly and a great home court advantage. Thomas says that they are also hopeful in the future that they will be able to lure the IHSA state basketball tournaments back to Champaign.
The new women's basketball coach Matt Bollant has the best record of any NCAA Division I women's coach over the past five seasons during his tenure at Wisconsin Green Bay. While coach Bollant agrees that there is a big discrepancy in the talent level of the few elite programs and the rest of Division I, he believes that gap is narrowing. His Green Bay teams were a prime example of that as they won games in the NCAA tournament three consecutive years. Bollant says recruiting in state is key to building the program and he has already gotten commitments from 4 top players. He also feels the Big Ten conference as a whole is going to be more competitive in the post season.