CARBONDALE — SIU women's basketball coach Cindy Stein said Saturday she hasn't heard from the University of Illinois about its vacant position and is not interested in becoming the next women's coach in Champaign.
Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman fired women's basketball coach Matt Bollant after five seasons on Tuesday. Bollant, who made over $385,000 in 2013-14, according to a report from the Champaign News-Gazette, went 61-94 overall and 22-62 in the Big 10 Conference.
Stein played two years at Illinois (1981-83) after playing two seasons at Illinois Central College and was an assistant coach for the Fighting Illini from 1993-95 under Kathy Lindsey. Stein's 323 career assists are the eighth-most in Illinois history, and were second when she graduated.
Stein signed a five-year escalating contract with the Salukis in 2013 that paid her an annual salary of $155,000 plus performance incentives this past season. Her salary goes up to $160,000 a year on April 1.
SIU closed a 16-15 season Wednesday, when the Salukis fell at Milwaukee, 81-53. After winning a total of 25 games between 2010-2014, SIU has now won 17, 20 and 16 games, respectively.
"I love Southern Illinois, and I've told (athletic director) Tommy (Bell) that we want to make everything work here," Stein said.
SIU's 20-13 season in 2015-16 was the program's first 20-win season in nine years. The Salukis finished fourth in the Missouri Valley Conference, their highest finish since winning the league in 2007, and reached the league tournament semifinals. SIU beat Loyola but lost to Northern Iowa.
The Salukis lost on a last-second shot at Western Illinois in the Women's Basketball Invitational (WBI). SIU's appearance in the WBI this season was only the program's third postseason appearance of any kind since making the NCAA Tournament in 1992.
SIU could return two starters, including leading scorer Kylie Giebelhausen, and eight of its top 11 in 2017-18. Stein and her staff also signed a talented recruiting class, including two Associated Press first team all-state selections in Edwardsville guard Makenzie Silvey and Raymond-Lincolnwood forward Abby Brockmeyer. Rachel Pudlowski, a 6-foot guard/forward at Fort Zumwalt North (Missouri) High School, was ranked the 50th-best wing in the nation by ESPN.com's HoopGurlz.
"The biggest thing for me is to concentrate on Southern Illinois and make sure of what we're doing here," Stein said. "I'm really excited about our incoming freshmen. That's been my main focus, on making our kids better, and focusing on this next class."