Dakich: Illini prez situation a deterrent

Dan Dakich said he believes Brad Stevens understands that a bigger league isn't necessarily a better situation. AP Photo/David J. Phillip

ESPN college basketball analyst Dan Dakich said Monday he believed Butler coach Brad Stevens and VCU coach Shaka Smart declined Illinois' job offers largely due to the recent resignation of the school's president.

Michael Hogan resigned as Illinois' president on Thursday. Robert Easter, a faculty member for 36 years, will become the school's president on July 1 and will have a two-year contract.

"One thing going on at Illinois is the president situation," Dakich said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000. "As a coach, that's unsettling, particularly when you have a great job. For someone who doesn't have a great job, you go to Illinois and don't care about the president situation.

"But the whole president situation is really, really big for coaches. You have to have two things in place when you're a coach -- you have to have a great AD that you trust and you have to have a president you trust. You want the president and AD to be the guys who hired you. What exactly is going on there, I would imagine both Brad and Shaka looked at that, and that was probably as big of a factor as anything else."

Dakich also believed Stevens wasn't looking to leave Butler right now.

"Brad likes his life in Indianapolis," Dakich said. "He makes enough money. He's a smart guy. He understands that money, the bigger league isn't necessarily better. ... Brad's been very consistent. We talk every week. He's been consistent about his desire to do the right things and make the right choices."

Dakich thought if Illinois was to land Ohio coach John Groce, who has been reported as the Illini's next target, he would provide the Illini with a top-notch recruiter.

"He is a fantastic recruiter, fantastic," Dakich said. "No messing around. No, ‘Well, he doesn't do this.' Terrific, terrific in people's homes, terrific in terms of being able to evaluate.

"I think you have to be there. You have to be all things to all people when you're a head coach in the Big Ten. You have to be able to recruit different places, different types of people, different family situations. I think he's very good at that."

Dakich also thought recruiting Chicago wasn't as much of an issue as it has been made to be. Dakich believed it was all about relationships.

"If you're pretty honest with people and show genuine interest and not just try to show up when they have a player on their team, but develop relationships, I don't think that it's difficult," Dakich said. "You got to get there and develop relationships. It's not the easiest thing. Relationships aren't.

"I do think people have overblown that. I've always come across good people in Chicago who have gotten a bad reputation."