Illinois hires new head coach

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by Traci Neuman

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) -- Illinois has made it official: John Groce is the new men's basketball coach of the Illini.

Groce has spent the past four seasons at Ohio, where he led the Bobcats to an 85-56 overall record and a run to the Sweet 16 of this year's NCAA tournament. He calls his move to the Big Ten school a "once in lifetime opportunity."

Groce replaces Bruce Weber, who was fired earlier this month after nine seasons. The Illini were 17-15 and suffered through a 2-12 collapse that sealed Weber's fate.

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