Brad Underwood Rounds Out Illinois Basketball Staff

Illinois head coach Brad Underwood announced Wednesday the hiring of Ron Coleman as assistant coach and Stephen Gentry as assistant to the head coach.

Ron Coleman – Assistant Coach

Coleman comes to Champaign after serving the last two years as an assistant at UIC under coach Steve McClain. The Flames were one of the nation’s most improved teams in 2016-17, recording 17 victories to increase its win total by 12 over the previous season. While at UIC, Coleman helped recruit and mentor Dikembe Dixson, the 2016 Horizon League Freshman of the Year.

Prior to UIC, Coleman spent three years as an assistant at Bradley under then-coach Geno Ford, earning the title of assistant head coach in his final season of 2014-15. Coleman entered the college ranks as an assistant for Tim Miles at Colorado State, helping the Rams to 20 wins and an NCAA Tournament appearance during the 2011-12 season. He then followed Miles to Nebraska, serving as director of player development before returning to his home state for the assistant coaching position at Bradley.

Before joining the profession at the collegiate level, Coleman coached one of the top AAU programs in the country, the Mac Irvin Fire, from 2005-11. He also coached at the prep level in Chicago, leading Benjamin Mays Academy before becoming associate head coach at Whitney Young.

“We’re excited to bring Coach Ron ‘Chin’ Coleman on board. He is a terrific young coach who has worked hard to earn his way up the ranks,” Underwood said. “He has tremendous knowledge of the state of Illinois and city of Chicago, growing up and playing there, and then cutting his coaching teeth at the high school and grassroots level with the Mac Irvin Fire. He is a student of the game, a great teacher, and will be an outstanding addition to the University of Illinois basketball program and for our players.”

A Chicago native and graduate of South Shore, Coleman began his collegiate career at Weber State. He then transferred to Lamar where he led the Cardinals in scoring for three straight seasons, recording 1,316 points to rank 11th on the school’s all-time scoring list. He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied arts and science from Lamar in 1997.

Stephen Gentry – Assistant to the Head Coach

Gentry arrives at Illinois after spending the 2016-17 season as director of player development at Oklahoma State, where the Cowboys won 20 games and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Gentry also was part of Underwood’s staff at Stephen F. Austin, serving as assistant coach. The Lumberjacks went a combined 89-14 during his three seasons, winning three straight Southland Conference regular season and tournament titles to qualify for the NCAA Tournament all three years.

Prior to SFA, Gentry spent six seasons at Texas A&M, including his final two as director of basketball operations under coach Billy Kennedy. That followed four years as video coordinator for former Texas A&M, and now Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. The Aggies won 129 games during his six season in College Station, participating in four NCAA Tournaments. Gentry came to A&M after one year as a video intern for the NBA’s Miami Heat.

Gentry played four seasons of college basketball at Gonzaga for coach Mark Few. During his career the Zags went 107-20, won four consecutive West Coast Conference titles and participated in four NCAA Tournaments, advancing to the second round three times and the Sweet 16 in 2006. Gentry earned two degrees from Gonzaga, a bachelor’s in sport management in 2005 and a master’s in sport and athletic administration in 2006.


“Stephen is one of the great basketball minds in the game,” Underwood said. “He played for an outstanding coach in Mark Few at Gonzaga, worked for Pat Riley with the Heat, and served in various roles at Texas A&M for Mark Turgeon and Billy Kennedy before joining us at Stephen F. Austin and continuing at Oklahoma State. Stephen is gifted with Xs and Os, extremely knowledgeable in the area of analytics, and has a wealth of contacts in the NBA.”

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