Texas associate head coach Luke Yaklich, a long-time Illinois HS coach and Illinois State grad, has been hired as the next head coach at UIC. Yaklich was on Shaka Smart‘s staff for just one season, working under John Beilein at Michigan and Dan Muller at alma mater ISU prior to his arrival in Austin in 2019.
“Luke has been an integral part of championship programs at every stop in his career,” AD Michael Lipitz said in a statement. “He’s a skilled tactician and teacher of the game, is highly regarded for his ability to develop players to their full potential, and prioritizes the academic success of his students.”
This will be the first collegiate head coaching opportunity for Yaklich, who won 104 games (with an IHSA Class 4A regional title) in six seasons at Joliet West HS in the southwest Chicago suburbs. He originally hails from LaSalle, Illinois – located about 90 miles from his new employer UIC – and spent much of his early coaching (and teaching) career at alma mater LaSalle-Peru HS.
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for my family to return to Illinois and represent an outstanding institution that I have long admired,” Yaklich said. “UIC is a prestigious academic institution in one of the world’s greatest cities. Combined with our dedicated coaching and support staff, beautiful campus, exciting style of play and strong team culture, we will attract the very best student-athletes and position the Flames to win Horizon League Championships.”
Yaklich has long recruited the state and Midwest and had been considered one of the top assistant coaches in Division I basketball. His defensive coaching helped the Wolverines reach the NCAA Championship game back in 2017 and his defection for Texas after Beilein’s departure last year was seen as a major coups for Smart and the Longhorns.
credit to Paul Sancya/Associated Press for the image