Illinois contacts Ohio’s Groce about job

The search for a new basketball coach continued Monday at the University of Illinois, with Ohio’s John Groce the latest candidate to be contacted.

According to CBS Sports, the 40-year-old Groce is interested in the position, which has been vacant for weeks after Illinois fired Bruce Weber.

After VCU’s Shaka Smart declined an offer from Illinois a week ago, Butler’s Brad Stevens took his name out of the running over the weekend.

"I am happy and extremely grateful to be the head coach at Butler University," Stevens said in a statement Sunday. "I am already looking forward to next season and the start of our postseason workouts in April."

The 35-year-old Stevens has turned down big offers from major programs on a yearly basis, having led tiny Butler to the national championship game in 2010 and 2011.

Groce’s Ohio Bobcats were champions of the MAC this season, losing Friday in the Sweet 16 to North Carolina in overtime.

Groce is familiar with the Big Ten, serving as a top assistant to Ohio State’s Thad Matta from 2004-08. He was previously an assistant to Matta at Xavier and Butler.