Illinois Coaching Search: Butler's Brad Stevens Denies Illini Contact

After VCU coach Shaka Smart rebuffed the Illinois Fighting Illini's offer to become the next head coach of their basketball program, all eyes turned to AD Mike Thomas, who now has to save face and find another candidate. Rumors circulated earlier today that Illinois had contacted Butler coach Brad Stevens, who helped guide the Bulldogs to back-to-back National Championship game appearances in 2010 and 2011. If Illinois could land Stevens -- arguably the hottest coaching commodity in the country -- it would certainly be a huge boon for the program.

Tonight, Stevens has come out and denied Illinois contacted him:

Here's how I spent my day -- I had individual meetings, I went fishing and I was just drawing chalk on the driveway with my daughter. I came in with all this fishing gear on and my wife told me my phone was blowing up."

For more on this story, stay with SB Nation Chicago. For more on the Illini check out Hail to the Orange. For more news and notes around the country, stick with SB Nation's college basketball news hub.

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