New Illinois AD Gives John Groce Vote of Confidence

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- The University of Illinois' new athletic director has issued a vote of confidence in basketball coach John Groce.

Groce has been under pressure from fans unhappy about missing the NCAA Tournament for a third straight season. It is Illinois' biggest NCAA drought since 1978-80.

Illinois is also facing its first losing season since the 2007-08 team went 16-19.

Speaking on WDWS-AM radio Saturday, Athletic Director Josh Whitman said, "It's important today that folks understand that John Groce is going to continue to be our basketball coach."

Whitman said he's comfortable with Groce's leadership of the team, calling him a "student of basketball and leadership."

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