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Illinois Names New Women’s Basketball Coach

Illinois has named University of Wisconsin-Green Bay's Matt Bollant as its new women's basketball coach.

Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas announced Bollant's hiring Wednesday morning. Thomas said Bollant has a proven track record and the type of experience that will help him duplicate that success in Champaign.

Bollant said he cannot guarantee instant success, but he said the effort will eventually pay off.

"I will promise you this," Bollant said. "You're going to have a head coach that will be in the community. You'll have a head coach that works his tail off to make this great. I'm going to get up every morning and come to work. Find a job that you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life. That's what I feel like I have. And our players are going to learn to play hard. As talented as they are, when they give as much effort as they can give, good things will happen. And everything else will take care of itself."

Under Bollant this season, Wisconsin-Green Bay finished 31-2 and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. The 41-year-old coach was 148-19 in five seasons at Green Bay, and four of his teams made the NCAA tournament.

Bollant said he is proud of the success he has had in Green Bay, but is honored to take the Illinois job. He will make $330,000 annually plus incentives.

His Green Bay Phoenix finished 6-0 against Big Ten schools the last two seasons. But Bollant says coaching within the conference opens up new opportunities in terms of recruitment.

"If we're the 10th-ranked team in the country, which we have been the last two years, we can go after any recruit." Bollant said. "At Green Bay, we still struggle to beat out the Big Ten. We can beat them on the basketball court, but still, because of the academics, because of the campus, and all those other things, it was a challenge."

Bollant replaces Jolette Law, who was fired at the end of the season. Law was 69-93 in five seasons with the Illini.

(Photo courtesy of The Associated Press)

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