Illinois women’s basketball coach Matt Bollant is a clear winner — so says his .837 winning percentage as a collegiate coach. And in his first season with the Illini women, he led the Orange and Blue to the postseason for the first time in three years and guided the Illini to a winning Big Ten record for the first time in 10 seasons. Coach Bollant can’t get away from women off the court — he has three of them waiting for him at home every day (daughters Abi and Regan, and wife Kari). The Illini women open the 2013-14 season at the State Farm Center on Nov. 12.
See why we think Matt Bollant is a Chambana Dad to Know.We are super excited about the Trick or Treating With the Stars event. How fired up is your team?
We’re really excited about the event and a chance for us to reach out and give back to the kids in the community and spend time with them. I’m really proud of the team that we’ve assembled and I think they’re amazing role models. Any time we can give them an opportunity to do that, it’s great for our program and great for young kids.
I was Uncle Sam one year, then the next year my wife, Kari, and I dressed up as hillbillies. Our kids have been ballet dancers, cheerleaders and have dressed as Coach Bollant. We’ve even dressed up our golden doodle, Jack, as a ballet dancer and walked him around the neighborhood. And when we were at Bryan College, our family lived in one of the dorms and we would do what we called Backward Halloween where Abi and Regan dressed up and went door-to-door passing out candy throughout the dorm.
An exciting style of basketball where we play extremely fast and very aggressively. We believe the addition of Sarah Hartwell is going to be really fun and exciting to watch, and you should look forward to more continued success from the Fighting Illini women’s basketball program!
Families are definitely a target of our program because we can provide that family-friendly environment. One of the neat things we do is birthday parties at games, where kids can sit on the floor and celebrate. And we also do autographs with whichever player is on that game’s program following each game. It’s really important to us that we build great relationships in the community. We want our players to understand that it’s a priority to reach out and give back to our fans and people in this community.
I think it goes hand-in-hand. I try to treat my players like I would if I were their dad. And I’m hoping someday that somebody will invest and love my kids like I do my players. I take the role of father figure for my players really seriously and I do everything in my power to love them well.
My life is pretty simple because of the demands of the job and the hours I spend working, so it’s pretty much work and family. But we enjoy going to the Vineyard Church and being a part of that community. And when I do have some free time, I like to play golf and my oldest daughter, Abi, is starting to play, so we like playing together.
Usually, it’s pretty simple. We like to go out to eat and we’ll either go out to a movie or get one from a Redbox. Something to get away just the two of us, so we can spend quality time together.