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Another Open Letter To Brad Underwood

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Dear Coach, 

I love you. Let's start there. I love you as much as I can possibly love the head coach of my alma mater. You have completely rejuvenated resuscitated a fanbase that's been wandering the depths of hell for close to a decade trying to regain some semblance of pride. Nowhere in my youth could I have foreseen such a drastic fall from grace, but it happened. John Groce happened. Mike Thomas happened.  

And you were there to catch us.  

I love you. 

We all do Coach. Everyone across the Illini Nation would take a charge for you. You've earned the trust, respect and admiration from the same community that celebrates the genius behind the internet, YouTube and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon just to name a few. This isn't an easy crowd. Expectations are high when you wear the blue & orange and needless to say Coach you have exceeded our expectations. You're the leader and champion we've been waiting for. Every moment of pain has been worth it. 

And let's be honest Coach. It's been painful. We didn't know the bad days of Bruce Weber would be the best days of the 2010's. We didn't know how fast the Big Ten would pass us by while we mourned our betrayals. From Eric Gordon to Jereme Richmond to Mark Smith to every 3-star recruit in-between we literally could not catch a break. In the meantime the boner jams from Iowa and the mutants from Purdue just ran laps around us. We were the biggest pussies in the Big Ten all things considered. 

And then you happened Coach. You came to campus with an agenda and an attitude that would engineer a complete 180. For the first time in over a decade the alumni walk proud. We're the toast of the college basketball world heading into the premier sporting weekend of the year. On behalf of everyone - we wanted to be Back, but I can confidently say this is way beyond my dreams. We're legitimately one of the best teams in the field and it's not close. 

What happens from here is up to fate. I don't have a crystal ball but my gut says there's a deep run at your fingertips. Understandably that's a big task. So let's leave it at this. Win or lose… cut the nets or the refs tires… champions or not… everyone loves you and the boys. You're forever in our memory as the team that brought the Fighting Illini back from the dead. 

That said it would be nice if we went to the Final Four and won the National Championship. Just being honest. I know you respect that. 

Love you. 

Carl.