Brand Underwood hires Illini alum to coaching staff

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From Illini Inquirer of

Illinois Fighting Illini men’s basketball Head Coach Brad Underwood has hired former Illini player Chester Frazier, the school announced on Thursday — confirming a report from Stadium’s Jeff Goodman — to fill one of the vacancies left when Kentucky hired away assistants Orlando Antigua and Chin Coleman. Frazier has received a three-year contract, pending approval from the University of Illinois Board of Trustees.

Frazier played for Illinois from 2005-09, earning Big Ten All-Defensive Team honors and All-Big Ten honorable mention as a senior after leading Illinois to a second-place Big Ten finish and an NCAA Tournament berth. Illinois won 20-plus games in three of his four seasons, and the one year they did not, Frazier helped the Illini make a run to the Big Ten Tournament championship game. He was a team captain for his final two seasons in Champaign. Frazier also served on Weber’s staff for a year as a graduate assistant after playing for professional teams in Germany.

Frazier, 35, has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach and associate head coach under Mike Young at Virginia Tech, helping the Hokies reach the NCAA Tournament last season with a 15-7 overall record and third-place finish in the ACC. Before heading to Blacksburg, Frazier served seven seasons as an assistant at Kansas State under Bruce Weber, who was Frazier’s coach as a player at Illinois.

Brad Underwood issued a statement after the hire: “We are thrilled to welcome Chester Frazier back to the University of Illinois and add one of the brightest young stars in the profession to our staff,” Underwood said. “Chester’s love for his alma mater has stayed with him throughout his brilliant rise in the coaching ranks. This place means a great deal to him, having sweat equity in our program. Chester is a leader, a competitor, and a winner. He’s achieved great success, as a player here and as a coach at both Kansas State and Virginia Tech. His work ethic on the court and on the recruiting trail, combined with the strong relationships he builds with players, make him a tremendous addition to the Fighting Illini.”

Frazier statement: “I am thankful to Coach Young and the Virginia Tech players and staff for everything these last two years, and move on knowing that I’ve played a part in helping move that program forward,” Frazier said. “Having said that, I am honored and excited to get back to the University of Illinois, which I consider home. I have blood, sweat, and tears invested there, met my wife there, and deep down still bleed Orange and Blue. I am motivated to get to work and help our program win a Big Ten championship. It escaped me as a player – I finished second twice – so that is going to be what drives me every day, bringing a trophy home to Champaign.”

Shawn Stewart is a Founder/CEO for Sports 4 America , you can follow Shawn on Twitter @Sports4Stewart

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