AD Josh Whitman contract extended through 2028

#27      

pruman91

Paducah, Ky
congrats to Josh..................well deserved..............can we stop with the accelerating hyperbole of other positions for Josh..........

From a contract extension as our AD , to Big 12 commish , to head of the NCAA in less than 3-4 hours is rather excessive , even for Loyalty..............................
It really really is................................
 
#30      
The two biggest hires any major conference AD makes are the men's football and basketball head coaches. By that standard, Josh hit two home runs. Coaches Bielema and Underwood are the best pair of flagship program coaches I can remember Illinois having in a very long time. Underwood has proven he can compete at an elite level, and Bielema finally has Illinois football on an upward trajectory, which is what us long suffering fans have been expecting for years. If he can get us close to the results he achieved at Wisconsin over the next few seasons, we will have teams that compete well and represent the spirit of the Fighting Illini. I am more optimistic than I have been in a long time. Well done Josh, glad you are staying put.
 
#34      
Doubtful, but the rumor of their interest still stands. As mentioned, this is not Josh' last stop.
How can you be so sure of that? Being the AD of a successful Big Ten athletic department is hardly a stepping stone for many. Some might have league commissioner aspirations, but I’d think Josh would wait for Big Ten to open.
 
#35      
The two biggest hires any major conference AD makes are the men's football and basketball head coaches. By that standard, Josh hit two home runs. Coaches Bielema and Underwood are the best pair of flagship program coaches I can remember Illinois having in a very long time. Underwood has proven he can compete at an elite level, and Bielema finally has Illinois football on an upward trajectory, which is what us long suffering fans have been expecting for years. If he can get us close to the results he achieved at Wisconsin over the next few seasons, we will have teams that compete well and represent the spirit of the Fighting Illini. I am more optimistic than I have been in a long time. Well done Josh, glad you are staying put.
Let's be honest. Josh also had a three-pitch strikeout in his initial hire for football. Maybe we should be cautious on our eval of Bielema at this point. The program that he took over in Madison was light years ahead of what he inherited at Illinois. If he gets our program to the level that he had at Wisky he should be given a lifetime contract and the keys to the city.
 
#36      
Let's be honest. Josh also had two three-pitch strikeouts in his initial hires for football and basketball. Maybe we should be cautious on our eval of Bielema at this point. The program that he took over in Madison was light years ahead of what he inherited at Illinois. If he gets our program to the level that he had at Wisky he should be given a lifetime contract and the keys to the city.
The hires need to be judged differently. For basketball, I expected a relatively desirable option and a return to regular Tournament appearances in a few years … Underwood blew that out of the water. For football, I expect next to nothing. Lovie didn’t work out, but it was a way bigger name than I thought we could snag. So is Bielema. No one is crowning is soon-to-be Big Ten champs, but Josh’s ability to attract big names to come here is quite impressive, especially given that our programs were in the toilet at the time of each hire. You’re taking a gamble with every hire when it’s Illini football, and we all know that. A MAC coach is what we should reasonably expect. I’m also confident BB gets us back to regular bowl games, which is the reasonable standard here until we’ve done it consistently for several years.
 
#37      

altgeld88

Bethesda, Maryland
The hires need to be judged differently. For basketball, I expected a relatively desirable option and a return to regular Tournament appearances in a few years … Underwood blew that out of the water. For football, I expect next to nothing. Lovie didn’t work out, but it was a way bigger name than I thought we could snag. So is Bielema. No one is crowning is soon-to-be Big Ten champs, but Josh’s ability to attract big names to come here is quite impressive, especially given that our programs were in the toilet at the time of each hire. You’re taking a gamble with every hire when it’s Illini football, and we all know that. A MAC coach is what we should reasonably expect. I’m also confident BB gets us back to regular bowl games, which is the reasonable standard here until we’ve done it consistently for several years.
+ regardless of whether BB works out (say, he plateaus at 7-5 and gets canned eventually) it seems at this point that the program will be in substantially better shape than it was in the wake of Beckman/Cubit and Lovie, which would make attracting a successor HC of high quality much easier for Josh than it was when Lovie departed. BTW, I'm bullish on Bielema. (There's a slogan for a T-shirt.)

I disagree, however, that we can only reasonably expect a MAC coach. I think of Mike White, who had great success at Cal in the '70s before moving to the NFL, and John Mackovic, who was (IIRC) QB coach under Tom Landry at Dallas and the HC of the Chiefs before we hired him in late '88. (And had a thoroughly mediocre stint for three seasons at Wake Forest.)

Those two hires were of high quality and directly related to the AD Neale Stoner. The quality of candidate we can attract depends on the overall program infrastructure in place when we're out in the coaching market AND the national extent of the network that the AD has. After Turner and Zook were fired, in each case the infrastructure was lacking, Zook's recruiting notwithstanding. After Beckman and Lovie... it seemed fairly nonexistent. Plus Mike Thomas and Guenther seemed to me to be really parochial and limited in their scope of candidates.

(And ugh... thinking of Turner. He really drove us into a ditch after that BT title in '01 and a fair showing in '02.)
 
#38      
^ What I meant, and should have said, is that an average/unexceptional AD could probably only pull in a MAC-type coach here, given where the program has been. I think Josh is a great AD, and I think hiring a guy like Bielema is possible with a great AD. But even an average AD can attract a desirable basketball coach, whereas a great AD like Josh can handpick one from another BCS school with a great history in its own right!
 
#40      

altgeld88

Bethesda, Maryland
^ What I meant, and should have said, is that an average/unexceptional AD could probably only pull in a MAC-type coach here, given where the program has been. I think Josh is a great AD, and I think hiring a guy like Bielema is possible with a great AD. But even an average AD can attract a desirable basketball coach, whereas a great AD like Josh can handpick one from another BCS school with a great history in its own right!
Agreed. Wisconsin is the gold standard for me in this area. Their revenue sports were a hot mess in 1988 when Donna Shala took over as university president. Football had some success in the early '80s but cratered after Dave McLain died in early '86. Basketball was a mediocrity for decades previously. Shalala realized how important the success of those programs would be to the UW brand and hired a new AD (former Miller Brewing marketing exec, IIRC.) That hire was the man who brought in Barry Alvarez after the '89 season, and eventually Stu Jackson and then Dick Bennett as basketball coaches.

If you'd told me when I was a senior at Illinois in 1988 (and even in '90 as a grad student) that Wisconsin would win the BT and a Rose Bowl in 1993 and appear in the Final Four in 1997 I would have LMAO'ed.
 
#42      
+ regardless of whether BB works out (say, he plateaus at 7-5 and gets canned eventually) it seems at this point that the program will be in substantially better shape than it was in the wake of Beckman/Cubit and Lovie, which would make attracting a successor HC of high quality much easier for Josh than it was when Lovie departed. BTW, I'm bullish on Bielema. (There's a slogan for a T-shirt.)

I disagree, however, that we can only reasonably expect a MAC coach. I think of Mike White, who had great success at Cal in the '70s before moving to the NFL, and John Mackovic, who was (IIRC) QB coach under Tom Landry at Dallas and the HC of the Chiefs before we hired him in late '88. (And had a thoroughly mediocre stint for three seasons at Wake Forest.)

Those two hires were of high quality and directly related to the AD Neale Stoner. The quality of candidate we can attract depends on the overall program infrastructure in place when we're out in the coaching market AND the national extent of the network that the AD has. After Turner and Zook were fired, in each case the infrastructure was lacking, Zook's recruiting notwithstanding. After Beckman and Lovie... it seemed fairly nonexistent. Plus Mike Thomas and Guenther seemed to me to be really parochial and limited in their scope of candidates.

(And ugh... thinking of Turner. He really drove us into a ditch after that BT title in '01 and a fair showing in '02.)
Couple of things. You make a good point about the AD's network. Whitman came from a Div. III background so, naturally, he had a Div. III level roladex. He's now upgrading his network at Illinois though he still takes the low hanging fruit at times (see wrestling, women's tennis where he simply promoted marginal assistants and T& F where he consolidated both programs under another marginal coach).

Second, Mike White. He wasn't a MAC level coach but he was pretty toxic after being fired at Cal. Reputable Power 5 ADs weren't going to touch him. Stoner did which garnered the predictable result.
 
#43      

altgeld88

Bethesda, Maryland
Couple of things. You make a good point about the AD's network. Whitman came from a Div. III background so, naturally, he had a Div. III level roladex. He's now upgrading his network at Illinois though he still takes the low hanging fruit at times (see wrestling, women's tennis where he simply promoted marginal assistants and T& F where he consolidated both programs under another marginal coach).

Second, Mike White. He wasn't a MAC level coach but he was pretty toxic after being fired at Cal. Reputable Power 5 ADs weren't going to touch him. Stoner did which garnered the predictable result.
Thanks for that. Didn't the sanctions on the Illini football program have to do with the AA and lack of controls rather than White? Am I wrong about that? That was just at the beginning of my fandom (and student days) so I really can't recall the substance. I do recall that Schembechler went after White hard because his recruitment of JuCo players such as Dave Wilson and Tony Eason, in an effort to quickly build out of the Moeller wreckage, threatened the status quo in the BT (The Big Two and the Little Eight, with Iowa already a threat by '81 under Fry.)
 
#44      
Thanks for that. Didn't the sanctions on the Illini football program have to do with the AA and lack of controls rather than White? Am I wrong about that? That was just at the beginning of my fandom (and student days) so I really can't recall the substance. I do recall that Schembechler went after White hard because his recruitment of JuCo players such as Dave Wilson and Tony Eason, in an effort to quickly build out of the Moeller wreckage, threatened the status quo in the BT (The Big Two and the Little Eight, with Iowa already a threat by '81 under Fry.)
The incident that resulted in White's termination was improper recruiting of Hart Lee Dykes by recruiting coordinator Rick George. There were, however, earlier run ins with both the NCAA and B10 conference which put him on thin ice with the Illinois brass.
 
#45      
The incident that resulted in White's termination was improper recruiting of Hart Lee Dykes by recruiting coordinator Rick George. There were, however, earlier run ins with both the NCAA and B10 conference which put him on thin ice with the Illinois brass.
George did all right for himself nonetheless:
 
#46      
Phillips was there for 13 years. I could see something like that playing out for Whitman, but don’t see it happening this soon.
Agreed, I was surprised that Phillips wasn't the BT commish. He was the second highest paid AD in the country. Whitman reminds me a lot like Phillips. I hope Whitman is here for life but unfortunately, I see him moving on at some point. People don't give Chancellor Robert Jones the credit due. From an administration standpoint he has been great. Whitman is just one of those people that gets it!!!
 
#47      

altgeld88

Bethesda, Maryland
The incident that resulted in White's termination was improper recruiting of Hart Lee Dykes by recruiting coordinator Rick George. There were, however, earlier run ins with both the NCAA and B10 conference which put him on thin ice with the Illinois brass.
Interesting. Thanks. All these years I'd simply recalled he was fired for the steep fall-off in '86-'87 and personality politics.
 
#48      
Josh deserves his rewards. He is a solid guy who moves the needle.

I dont consider him a rockstar on his hires ( ref Lovie, Fahey, etc)...but he is a great representative for the institution.

I like most that he isn't satisfied with status quo... he is willing to pivot if he doesn't like what he sees on a court or field.
 
#49      
Outstanding news! Well deserved and I'm glad Illinois is all in on Whitman, Coach Underwood and Coach Bielema.

ALL IN! WE WILL WIN! GO ILLINI!:chief::ms::ah::hailtotheorange::shield::illinois:😎