March 23, 2022 

Shauna Green looking to ‘build from the ground up’ after inking Illinois job

Green: The players are bought in and now it's time to get to work

It didn’t take long for Illinois to find its next head coach.

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Seventeen days after women’s basketball legend Nancy Fahey retired from her post, the Illini announced on March 22 former University of Dayton head coach Shauna Green would take on the position for their program. Green recently led the Flyers to an NCAA tournament appearance while Illinois went 7-20 in the regular season.

Green expressed a level of excitement for the new challenge of rebuilding a program that has a lot of competition within the conference. She met with her players individually today to talk about the direction she wants to take the team after its struggles in recent years.

“I think when you struggle, you’re eager to change direction and try some new ways of doing stuff,” Green told The Next on March 23. “Talking with the players today, they are all bought in. Now it’s time to get to work.”

Before joining Dayton, Green was an assistant coach for Northwestern, where she worked under Joe McKeown in 2016. She left the Wildcats the following year and became the Flyers’ head coach for the next six seasons. Over that time, Green’s teams accumulated a 127-50 record and qualified for the NCAA tournament four times. She comes into Illinois, having been named Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year three times.

Her experience will be important as Illinois tries to find its footing within the Big Ten. The program went 7-61 in the conference since the 2018-2019 season and hasn’t made it to the NCAA tournament in 19 years. However, Green is comfortable coming in embracing the challenges that come with competing in a loaded conference.

“I’ve always thought this was the conference that really fits me,” said Green. “It’s an unbelievable league with some of the best coaches in the country. It’s going to be really, really tough every single night, so I want the challenge of being able to play against the best night in and night out.”

Green comes in with familiarity with recruiting in the Midwest, having been at Dayton. She’s originally from Clinton, Iowa and watched Big Ten games growing up. So she knows what it’ll take to turn the program around what is required to do so. This will be an entirely different Illini squad next fall than what the fanbase has been accustomed to over the last few years.

“My only goals are for us to get better every single day,” said Green. “Obviously, we all want to win. We all want to contend for championships and go to the NCAA tournament. That’s a no-brainer and my goal. But that’s a long-term goal. We have to focus on the process and take things day-by-day. If we can continue everyday getting 1% better, then that’s my goal.”

Written by James Kay

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