Illinois State’s Muller decides to step away immediately instead of at end of season

Yesterday, Illinois State made the announcement that head men’s basketball coach Dan Muller would not return as Redbird Men’s Basketball Head Coach after the conclusion of this season. The release said that Muller would continue to coach his team through the remainder of the 2021-22 basketball season. That all changed today, when Muller has made the decision to step away from his head coaching duties, effective immediately. ISU Associate Head Coach Brian Jones will serve as the program’s interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021-22 season.

“After an emotional day yesterday, and more time to talk to my players about this difficult situation, I have decided to step away and not coach this team the rest of the season,” Muller said. “I completely understand that playing for a coach that has been fired could be very difficult, and I do not want to be a distraction to my players. Brian Jones will fill my shoes, and the rest of the staff will do everything they can for these players. I will be cheering hard for this team at home while you support them at Redbird Arena and beyond.”

“Dan informed me of his decision today to step away from coaching for the remainder of the season,” ISU Director of Athletics Kyle Brennan said. “We are thankful for Coach Muller’s contributions as a coach and student-athlete, and we appreciate Coach Jones stepping up to lead our program during this transition. We will continue to support our student-athletes as we begin our national pursuit for the next leader of Redbird Men’s Basketball.”

Jones, who is in his third season as a part of the Redbird coaching staff, came to Illinois State after spending 13 seasons as the head coach at North Dakota. During his time in Grand Forks, Jones led the Hawks to the 2016-17 NCAA Tournament, and in doing so, was named the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year. In total, he guided UND to six post-season berths and three appearances in Big Sky Conference Championship games.

Prior to his time with the Hawks, he spent seven seasons at Iowa working under Steve Alford, including five as assistant coach. During his time as an assistant coach in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes went 98-64, won a pair of Big Ten Tournament titles, and received three NCAA Tournament invitations.

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