Vanderbilt's Muller makes a hoops homecoming, named Illinois State coach

Monday, May 7, 2012 at 9:22pm

Last week, when asked about his interest in the vacant head men’s basketball coaching position at Illinois State, Dan Muller was short on words.

“That is my alma mater and I hope they make a great hire,” he said.

Muller can’t be disappointed with this news.

The longtime Vanderbilt assistant and former Redbird standout will be introduced as Illinois State’s new head coach at a press conference at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. The school announced the decision on Twitter on Monday night, ending a day of rumors.

On Monday morning The Bloomington-Normal Pantagraph reported Illinois State hired assistant Rob Judson as its next head coach but didn’t cite any sources. Later on Monday, however, The Pantagraph reported that Illinois State officials had not made a decision yet.

Muller is no stranger to Illinois State, where he graduated from in 1998. He played for the Redbirds from 1995-98 under current Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings and led ISU to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including the school’s most recent trip in 1998.

Muller has spent the last 12 years at Vanderbilt after a brief professional basketball career. He helped the Commodores reach six NCAA Tournaments, including five in the last six years. He also received much of the credit for landing big recruits such as NBA draft hopefuls Festus Ezeli, John Jenkins and Jeffery Taylor. It was the second job Muller interviewed for in two months. He was a finalist for the Mississippi State opening.

ISU had a void to fill after Tim Jankovich, a former Vanderbilt assistant, left to join Larry Brown’s staff at SMU.

“I certainly feel like I am ready,” Muller said last month. “Is it frustrating? I don’t know if it is frustrating because I’m in such a great place. I definitely look forward to the opportunity at a good program to be a head coach. I think that will come. The alternative of being here is certainly a great one so it is not like it is a win-lose situation. It is a win-win, I think, for me and that says a lot about Vanderbilt.”