Archive for Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Illinois St. selects Jankovich

KU assistant will finish season before joining Redbirds

March 20, 2007


Kansas University basketball assistant Tim Jankovich, who has been a college head coach twice before, will lead a program again.

Jankovich, who has worked for Bill Self at KU the past four seasons, at 11 a.m. today will be introduced as Porter Moser's replacement at Illinois State University in Normal, Ill.

Moser was fired March 5 after compiling a 51-67 record in four seasons.

"What a great opportunity for Tim," Self exclaimed Monday, noting Jankovich was committed to completing this season at KU before moving into his new office on the ISU campus.

"I couldn't be happier for Tim. It's a great hire. I worked 40 minutes from Illinois State, and I know it's a great situation," the former University of Illinois coach noted. "Tim will like the area. He and his family will be great fits for the area. He is a great coach, and more importantly, to me, a great friend. He'll be missed, and (wife) Cindy and (son) Michael will be missed."

Jankovich, who went 53-57 at North Texas from 1993-97 and 50-14 in two seasons at Hutchinson Community College (1997-99), met with ISU athletic director Sheahon Zenger and ISU president Al Bowman on Monday in Lawrence - an off day for the Jayhawks.

Jankovich and his family members flew to Normal, Ill., after accepting the job and spent the night at a hotel awaiting this morning's media conference.

"They've been talking for about a week. It happened pretty fast," said Self, who has worked with Jankovich for five years - one at Illinois and the past four at KU.

Self said it would not be a distraction to his KU team, which is headed to a Sweet 16 meeting with Southern Illinois on Thursday in San Jose, Calif.

"I thought it'd be a bigger distraction if he kept denying it for a week or so. Now we know he's the new man at Illinois State. It's his job. We're happy for him," Self said.

"Our players knew it was a possibility. We informed them today it could happen. They will all be very happy for him."

Self, of course, is not now thinking about the possibility of promoting somebody like Brett Ballard or having Danny Manning accept a full-time assistant's post.

"My concern right now is SIU," Self stressed. "I'd rather get it (the announcement of Jankovich's hiring) over with than questioned about the situation and Tim not being able to answer correctly.

"Putting it out now is the right thing to do, otherwise he'd be answering questions while we're preparing in San Jose. His job here is unfinished. He's committed to helping us try to defeat Southern Illinois and advance in this tournament. Tim did not want this to be a distraction to the team and it won't be one."

Jankovich, 47, who also worked for former KU assistant and former Illinois State head coach Kevin Stallings at Vanderbilt, has talents that will be missed, Self indicated.

"He is a very good recruiter and one of the best talent evaluators I've been around," Self said. "He is without question one of the brightest coaches in the game. I have been blessed to be around many great assistant coaches (including current St. John's coach Norm Roberts and Texas A&M; coach Billy Gillispie) and Tim is as talented as any of them.

"It's a great get to hire (him) at a mid-major level. He has a creative mind, played basketball and coached at the highest level."

Former KU player Christian Moody said Jankovich taught him a lot at KU.

"He is a great, personable guy that always has the door open," Moody said. "Working with him as a big-man coach was a real privilege. He let the big men know their job in the offense. He has this unbelievable mind for coming up with new plays and knowing why and how plays work.

"He is really good at explaining them. I had some great talks with him. It's what made him a great scouting coach, too," Moody added. "He is really good at scouting other teams and breaking down their offenses and players in figuring how to guard and play against the best teams."

¢Jankovich notebook: Former ISU coach Moser was paid $510,000 as a buyout for the final three years of his contract. ... Redbird athletic director Zenger, like Jankovich, is a Kansas State graduate. ... The Redbirds, who play in the Missouri Valley Conference, return five of their six leading scorers for the 2007-08 season, including Valley Freshman of the Year Osiris Eldridge and four seniors. ISU went 15-16 last year and tied for seventh in the Valley at 6-12. ISU went 22-50 in conference games under Moser. ... Jankovich has also worked as an assistant at Oklahoma State, Texas and Colorado State. ... At Kansas State, Manhattan native Jankovich played for KSU's Elite Eight team in 1981 and Sweet 16 squad in '82. He left KSU eighth in career field-goal percentage (.510) and held the Big Eight Conference Tournament single-game record for assists with 14. ... Jankovich was believed to be on the wish list of several schools this offseason, including Denver, Colorado State and Wyoming.


stepaheadgreg 11 years, 3 months ago

Congrats Jank....Were going to miss you and your family.. Good Luck..I am sure lots of us will now adopt the Redbirds..

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