UIC hires Yaklich as new men's basketball coach

  • Luke Yaklich has been named the University of Illinois-Chicago's men's basketball head coach.

    Luke Yaklich has been named the University of Illinois-Chicago's men's basketball head coach. Courtesy of UIC

 
 
Updated 3/26/2020 2:14 PM

The University of Illinois-Chicago snagged one of the rising stars of the college basketball world to be its new men's basketball coach. The school Thursday announced the hiring of Luke Yaklich.

Yaklich, 43, gained renown as a defensive specialist during his two-year run as an assistant to John Beilein at Michigan from 2017 to 2019. During those two seasons, Michigan ranked in the top three in the country in defensive efficiency and advanced to the NCAA title game in 2018. Yaklich spent last season at Texas on Shaka Smart's coaching staff.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"UIC is a prestigious academic institution in one of the world's greatest cities," Yaklich said in a statement released by the school. "Combined with our dedicated coaching and support staff, beautiful campus, exciting style of play and strong team culture, we will attract the very best student-athletes and position the Flames to win Horizon League championships."

Yaklich is a native of LaSalle, Ill., and served as a basketball manager during his college years at Illinois State. Yaklich spent more than a decade as a high school coach and social studies teacher at his alma mater, LaSalle-Peru; Sterling and Joliet West. He made the jump to college coaching in 2013, joining Dan Muller's staff at Illinois State.

"Luke Yaklich is going to be a terrific head coach at UIC," Beilein said in a statement. "His passion to learn the game is incredible and no one is going to be more prepared. He really understands the game on both sides of the ball. He is a relentless recruiter who also values character and attitude in his evaluations. He has been preparing himself for this opportunity."

The Flames went 18-17 last season and lost in the championship game of the Horizon League tournament to Northern Kentucky. Head coach Steve McClain was let go after posting a 76-93 record in five seasons.

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