Molinari confirms move to Nebraska

Jim Molinari (Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)

After speculation surfaced last week, Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari resigned on Thursday night and confirmed he would be joining Miles and crew in Lincoln.

LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska has their replacement for assistant basketball coach Craig Smith.

After speculation surfaced last week, Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari resigned on Thursday night and confirmed he would be joining Tim Miles and crew in Lincoln.

"I think that I wasn't looking for an opportunity, but I really think the Lord opened this door,' Molinari told the Peoria Journal by phone. "I know Tim Miles and I don't pick places, I pick people. I'm buying into him and his vision and trying to continue what they've done there.

"With that said, this is the most difficult basketball decision I've ever made."

Western Illinois was Molinari's fourth stop as a Division 1 head coach. In 19 seasons, he recorded a 263-244 record, with stop at Northern Illinois, Bradley, Minnesota (interim), and Western Illinois. This season, the Leathernecks finished 22-7 on the year and tied for first in the Summit League conference standings. One of their seven losses was to Nebraska.

"When I came in I said ‘We're going to build a program.' And we have a program now," Molinari told the Journal. "Western is a special place — a unique, special place — and I have tremendous trust in the leadership of (WIU president Jack Thomas and athletics director Tommy Bell). Those things made this a tough decision."

An official announcement from Nebraska has not been released at this time, but should be coming within the next 48-72 hours.

Molinari's time in Illinois will surely benefit the Huskers on the recruiting trail as Nebraska tries to recruit the Chicago area.

Update 1:15 p.m: Nebraska has released the official announcement regarding Molinari.

"Today is a great day for Husker Hoops," Miles said. "Adding Coach Molinari to our staff can help elevate us to the next level. He's a great coach and a better person. We are very fortunate he's joining us. He brings a wealth of coaching and recruiting experience. He's coached in the Final Four as an assistant. He's taken his own team to the NCAA Tournament at two different universities, and he's recruited NBA players. Jim has had every conceivable experience a coach can have, and he will have a major impact on our program."

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