The next head coach of the Illinois-Chicago Flames looks to reportedly be former Texas basketball assistant coach Luke Yaklich.
The Texas basketball program is set to lose one of their best assistant coaches, just one year after landing on the Forty Acres under head coach Shaka Smart in the first place. Texas assistant coach Luke Yaklich was supposedly brought in to help this team play tighter defense and more efficiently in transition last season, and it showed up at times.
But it was too early to tell how much of an impact Yaklich had on the Texas Longhorns basketball program since he didn’t even get one complete season on this coaching staff. Smart and the Longhorns brought him into the program last offseason after his stint on staff with the Michigan Wolverines. He jumped ship in Ann Arbor after former Michigan head coach John Beilein assumed the same role with the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA. But that stint for Beilein as head coach of the Cavaliers was very short lived.
According to a report from Stadium college basketball inside Jeff Goodman on Twitter on March 23, Yaklich is anticipated to become the next head coach of the Illinois-Chicago Flames basketball program. Illinois-Chicago reportedly (ESPN) parted ways with their former head coach Steve McClain earlier this month following a rather subpar 18-17 (10-8 Horizon League) record for the season that was.
There were three seasons for McClain with at least 10 wins in Horizon League play, but he was never able to get Illinois-Chicago to their ultimate goal of making an NCAA Tournament. The last game he coached last season saw the Flames fall short at the hands of the Northern Kentucky Norse in the Horizon League Tournament.
Ironically enough, the head coach of Northern Kentucky is a fellow former Texas assistant coach Darrin Hand. Texas brought in Yaklich to replace Hand last offseason when Northern Kentucky hired him away to be their head coach.
Prior to his time as a Michigan basketball assistant coach and Texas assistant, Yaklich was on staff with Illinois State for four years and was high school head coach before that. He seems to be on the up and up in the college basketball coaching ranks at the moment.
Texas finished up with a record of 19-12 (9-9 Big 12). Their season was cancelled out due to the spread of novel coronavirus prior to Texas getting to play in their first Big 12 Tournament game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.