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Former Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari joins Nebraska coaching staff

Apr 11, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT

Western Illinois v Nebraska Getty Images

One day after it was announced that Western Illinois head coach Jim Molinari was stepping down, Nebraska has officially hired him as an assistant on Tim Miles’ staff. Molinari, who has won 300 games as a head coach, fills the position left vacant by Craig Smith. Smith is now the head coach at South Dakota.

“Today is a great day for Husker Hoops,” Miles said in the release announcing the move. “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.”

This past season Nebraska made its first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998, falling to Baylor in the Round of 64. With most of the key contributors from that team due back on campus next season, led by All-Big Ten selection Terran Petteway, Nebraska will be expected to make a return trip to the Big Dance in 2014-15.