Doug Collins Court
A cornerstone for the Illinois State Athletics program is beautiful Redbird Arena, which began operation in 1989. The home of Redbird basketball and volleyball, the facility also houses the Owen Strength and Conditioning Center and athletic administration offices. Many praise the arena, with a capacity of 10,200, for its excellent design, as the furthest seat from the floor is just 220 feet away. The Champaign News Gazette labeled Redbird Arena as "the best basketball arena in the state."
On Feb. 3, 2007, the court in Redbird Arena was named "Doug Collins Court" after legendary player, coach, Olympian and broadcaster Doug Collins, who started at Illinois State from 1971-73.
Dan Muller, the 2017 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year, has proven his ability to win an MVC championship. After his sixth year as Illinois State’s head coach, Muller has led the Redbirds to a share of the MVC regular-season title (2017), which was the program’s first since he helped ISU win the Valley championship as a player in 1998, and has led the program to three MVC Tournament Championship Game appearances.
Muller was named the 19th men’s basketball coach in school history May 8, 2012, and since then, he has led Illinois State to a better MVC record and higher conference finish each year. In 2016-17, Muller guided the Redbirds to program bests in MVC wins (17-1, en route to the Valley title), regular-season victories (25) and overall triumphs (28).
Through his first six seasons, Muller amassed a 122-80 record and coached the Redbirds to four victories over Top-25 programs, three postseason appearances (2017 National Invitation Tournament, 2015 NIT and 2014 College Basketball Invitational), four postseason wins, and victories against the Big Ten, the BIG EAST, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and the American Athletic Conference. Muller is the first coach in Illinois State basketball history to beat four Top-25 teams in his first four seasons, and his four Top-25 victories are also tied for the most ever recorded by a Redbird head coach.
Jones comes to Illinois State after spending 13 seasons as head coach at North Dakota and helped lead the Hawks to the 2016-17 NCAA Tournament and in doing such was named the Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year.
Jones was at the helm of the program when the athletic department made the difficult transition from NCAA Division II to NCAA Division I. He helped lead the Hawks to six post-season appearances, including the 2017 NCAA Tournament, and three appearances in Big Sky Conference Championship games.
During his first two seasons in Grand Forks his teams were a member of Division II and Jones helped the school through the transition to Division I. North Dakota was a NCAA Division I independent for the 2008-09 season in which the program went 16-12 in its inaugural campaign in the highest level of basketball. Over the next three seasons, he helped guide the Hawks to two winning campaigns as members of the Great West Conference.
Brian Reese, who won a national championship as a player with North Carolina and was the head coach at Division II Georgian Court University in 2015-16, joined Illinois State as an assistant coach ahead of the 2016-17 season. Prior to his head coaching stint, Reese served as a collegiate assistant for six years.
Last season (2017-18) the Redbirds battled injuries all season, and had just one player appear in every game. The team’s 18-15 record was deceiving; however, as it included wins over the SEC’s South Carolina and Ole Miss, and the American Athletic Conference’s Tulsa (twice). Reese helped coach junior guard/forward to MVC Newcomer of the Year honors and a spot on the All-Conference First Team, as the team battled its way to the championship game of the MVC Tournament.
In his first season with the Redbirds, Reese helped ISU win a share of the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship and set program records for overall victories (28), regular-season wins (25) and conference triumphs (17). With Reese’s assistance, ISU earned a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), where the Redbirds won their NIT first-round matchup before bowing out in the second round.
Belcher, a veteran of the Missouri Valley Conference as a coach and a student-athlete, comes to Normal after spending eight seasons with the Sycamores, the last two as associate head coach. He also spent a season at Evansville, two at Southern Illinois, and was a student-athlete with the Salukis.
Belcher joined the Indiana State coaching staff for the 2011-12 season, as the Sycamores advanced to the CollegeInsider.com tournament. The next two seasons saw Indiana State fall in the NIT first round against Iowa and Arkansas.
He spent one season each at Eastern Illinois (2007-08) and Evansville (2008-09) before beginning a two-season stint at his alma mater of Southern Illinois (2009-11).
Director of Basketball Operations
Spencer Johnson, the career rebounding leader at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has served as Illinois State’s director of basketball operations since June of 2016. Prior to his promotion, Johnson was ISU’s video coordinator, a position he held since August of 2015.
Before joining ISU, Johnson served as a graduate assistant with the UMKC men’s basketball program for two years, from 2013-15, where he was responsible for video coordinating and editing. Johnson also gained coaching and program operations experience.
A 2012 graduate of UMKC, Johnson is the school’s all-time leader in rebounds (710) and games played (121) during his basketball career from 2007-11. An honorable mention All-Summit League pick, Johnson recorded a UMKC single-season record 283 rebounds as a senior, averaging 9.4 rebounds per game to rank second in school history. He also recorded 21 rebounds in a game versus North Dakota State that year, which was the second-highest total in school history.
Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Putyrski spent the 2018-19 season as an assistant coach at Eastern Florida State College. He helped lead the Titans to a 28-8 record, and the squad advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association National tournament quarterfinals.
Putyrski was named as one of the top junior college assistant coaches in the country by Coachstat.net and was praised for excelling in recruiting, teaching, game-planning, and player development. During his lone season EFSC, six student-athletes earned All-Conference honors. Also, in charge of academics at EFSC, the program recorded a program-record 3.14 grade point average.
Prior to his time at EFSC, he worked as a graduate assistant at Chattanooga and was a four-year student-manager for the Redbirds from 2011 until 2016, including serving has head manager during the 2015-16 season.