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May 7, 2012

Muller to become head coach at Illinois State

Long-time Vanderbilt assistant basketball coach and recruiting coordinator Dan Muller will become the new head coach at Illinois State University, VandySports.com has learned. Muller will take part in an official press conference on Tuesday at the school at 4:00 CDT today. The Missouri Valley Conference member has already began advertising the event on its official athletics website.

Muller, a ISU graduate and former GTE Academic All-American, takes over the Redbirds program after one-time Vanderbilt assistant Tim Jankovich accepted a head coach-in-waiting position at Southern Methodist University on April 27th.


A native of Indiana, Muller joined Commodore head coach Kevin Stallings in 2001 after playing two years of professional basketball overseas. A three-year starter under Stallings at Illinois State, Muller helped the Redbirds to an impressive 91-36 record during his career including two NCAA Tournament appearances. One of his memorable moments came in ISU's upset victory over Tennessee in the 1998 tournament.

A three-time MVC All-Defensive Team selection, Muller also excelled off the court, receiving the NCAA's Post-Graduate Scholarship. He was also a Bone Scholar, the highest academic honor at ISU. Muller earned his MBA from the University of Florida in 2003.

As a 12-year assistant at Vanderbilt, Muller saw his duties increase as the seasons went on. He took over as the program's recruiting coordinator in 2006 and became one of Stallings most trusted bench coaches during the last several years.

His efforts in recruiting were monumental for the Commodores as the program was raised to a profile it hadn't seen since the early 1980's. Muller was the primary recruiter for the majority of Vanderbilt's top standouts including back-to-back SEC leading scorer John Jenkins, multi-time All-SEC standouts Jeffery Taylor and Festus Ezeli, as well as fellow starters Lance Goulbourne and Brad Tinsley.

That core group was responsible for 72 wins over the last three seasons with each resulting in trips to the NCAA Tournament. It marked the first time the Vanderbilt program has ever made three straight visits to the Big Dance.

Muller has been a candidate for several D1 head coaching positions over the last couple of years as his achievements in Nashville began to circulate. This off-season he was linked to openings at schools such as Mississippi State, Miami of Ohio and Southern Illinois.

He emerged as one of three finalists at Illinois State last week and reportedly accepted the job on Monday. CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman was the first to report of Muller's hiring. Multiple sources soon followed suit.

He takes over a Redbirds program that is coming off a 21-14 season and 2nd round appearance in the NIT Tournament. Illinois State featured no seniors on its roster last fall and is expected to return its top five scorers.

Muller becomes the third Stallings assistant to leave the program for a D1 head coaching position. Seven-year assistant Jeff Jackson left in 2006 to become the head coach at Furman University. He's compiled a 78-91 record for the Paladins in 6 years, including a 22-win season two years ago.

Five-year assistant King Rice left in 2011 to become the head coach at Monmouth University. He posted a 12-20 record during his first season with the Hawks, including 10 conference wins.

It is unknown as to whom Stallings will turn to in terms of replacing Muller on the staff and as recruiting coordinator. Fellow assistant coach David Cason, appears to be returning for his second year with the Commodores after emerging as a head coaching candidate this off-season as well.








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