AD Josh Whitman contract extension through 2031

#2      

TentakilRex

Land O Insects between Quincy-Macomb-Jacksonville
I like Josh Whitman, but time for the big revenue programs to succeed...
 
#3      
I like Josh Whitman, but time for the big revenue programs to succeed...
3 straight tournaments(would have been 4), conference championship(coulda been 2) conference tournament championship. Football just went to a new yard day bowl. Still alive for bowl eligibility this year. Not gonna get a better college coach that knows the landscape of college football and how to navigate it than Bielema. Are we not succeeding?
 
#4      

GrayGhost77

Centennial, CO
3 straight tournaments(would have been 4), conference championship(coulda been 2) conference tournament championship. Football just went to a new yard day bowl. Still alive for bowl eligibility this year. Not gonna get a better college coach that knows the landscape of college football and how to navigate it than Bielema. Are we not succeeding?
Not to mention women's bball crushing it now, and golf, and track and field, among others. Whitman has done an exemplary job thus far overall. Well deserved.
 
#6      

Illini2010-11

Sugar Grove
3 straight tournaments(would have been 4), conference championship(coulda been 2) conference tournament championship. Football just went to a new yard day bowl. Still alive for bowl eligibility this year. Not gonna get a better college coach that knows the landscape of college football and how to navigate it than Bielema. Are we not succeeding?
To add to your point slightly: the football program was in absolute disarray when hired with the one-year contract of Cubit, and the basketball program was stalling under John Groce. The two biggest revenue sports were about as bad as it could be.

Look at where we have come in a few short years. The basketball program is in very good shape (yes, we need to start making second weekend of tourney) and the football program is in the best position in decades. That is only looking at big revenue sports.

The other sports have also been a massive success. This is a well deserved raise and extension.
 
#8      
Are they significantly better or worse than when he came aboard?

I think so, most notably with basketball.
Yeah, echoing pretty much everyone else ... I simply cannot agree with that post. When Josh got here, we were getting 30k in football attendance, our basketball program was the worst it had been in a LITERAL generation and the general feel of hopelessness among the fan base was at an all-time high. I bet he'd be the first to tell you he's hungry to climb even further, but who would have not taken this deal when Josh was hired?! Multiple Big Ten banners, a #1 seed and the winningest program in the Big Ten over a 4+ year span for basketball?? Football being in bowl contention for three straight years, actually appearing in the top 25, an 8 win season and crowds of 50k+ again?

No one would disagree that we want more! Because the sky is the limit at Illinois ... and Josh knows that! However, that does not negate that he has done an AMAZING job so far.
 
#11      

redwingillini11

North Aurora
3 straight tournaments(would have been 4), conference championship(coulda been 2) conference tournament championship. Football just went to a new yard day bowl. Still alive for bowl eligibility this year. Not gonna get a better college coach that knows the landscape of college football and how to navigate it than Bielema. Are we not succeeding?
I definitely agree with everything you say. I will say, though, that as these seasons unfold, it is easy to get frustrated with the outcomes of certain games and a a little bit of overall underachieving from Underwood and Bielema. However, stepping back and looking at the big picture, both basketball and football are in much, much better places than they were in 5-10 years ago, and I have the utmost confidence in Josh Whitman as the leader of this athletic department. Even if we are still in going to be in the back half of the B1G football pecking order, Josh seems to be considered one of the leaders of this conference, and I think the respect he demands from the other big fish will keep us on solid ground as college athletics evolves before our eyes. Congratulations Josh. You are very much worth the extension.
 
#14      
It’s interesting u said revenue because from a revenue perspective he has done extremely well
That he has, and football is not a simple turn around for us (and we're not doing what Colorado is doing), but I know it will happen. The administration knows we need to support football or risk being left behind as the landscape continues to evolve. Football media $ will feed the entire athletic department and we have to be a part of the top tier.
 
#16      
Perhaps you could define "success" for us.....

This is a VERY interesting question... and one that will constantly be on the minds of Illini Nation for years to come.

Are the Illini programs improved? No question.

What does the future hold? MUCH tougher competition in an already hotly-contested Big Ten. The usual legacy powers and the new West Coast powers.

What are the default expectations for the Illini from Illini Nation? To our credit as fans... our standards are high. We have never been comfortable with mediocrity in any form – and never will be. We have the mentality of a Blue Blood Program while some Illini programs (the big-rev sports) have not yet attained that highest level in recent times.

What are ‘reasonable’ expectations for the Illini in the near-term? The level of sports performance has to be raised just to stay level with the powers coming in. And to start climbing the ladder and elbowing the likes of disgraced Michigan and always-arrogance ‘TTHHHEEE’ and Penn State out of the way to make room for the O & B at the high perch? The performance level has to be raised even higher.

The Big Ten going forward is truly the premier and glamour National Conference going forward. SEC is great but still remains mostly regional and not National in membership. Big 12 and ACC have improved their footprint but are no threats to The Ten. The Big Ten is now Coast-to-Coast and claims Chicago and New York through to LA and Seattle. And if The Ten ever bags a Florida State and Carolina? Yikes.

The Illini have a great history and are a premier legacy Conference member. It’s time to double-down on that special status and become a yearly fixture in the National conversation about being a yearly football and roundball power.

THAT is one definition of 'Success'.
 
#19      

Mr. Tibbs

southeast DuPage
we have waited so long for East side and horseshoe modernization, Im okay with waiting a little longer if it means access to new donors hopping on the band wagon and doing it right .

In reality , we need to fully examine lowering the field a bit and not taking "Coach" Guenther's word on it. as is , the field is way toofar away from the first row of seats . just about every stadium that had a track, modified the stadium seating or lowered the field . We've done neither
 
#20      
3 straight tournaments(would have been 4), conference championship(coulda been 2) conference tournament championship. Football just went to a new yard day bowl. Still alive for bowl eligibility this year. Not gonna get a better college coach that knows the landscape of college football and how to navigate it than Bielema. Are we not succeeding?
Also don't forget golf, women's basketball etc...and our facilities are getting up to par for the most part...
 
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#22      

TentakilRex

Land O Insects between Quincy-Macomb-Jacksonville
Perhaps you could define "success" for us............

And to make it easy, feel free to use the 14-team Big10 as opposed to the soon-to-be 16-team league.
3 straight tournaments(would have been 4), conference championship(coulda been 2) conference tournament championship. Football just went to a new yard day bowl. Still alive for bowl eligibility this year. Not gonna get a better college coach that knows the landscape of college football and how to navigate it than Bielema. Are we not succeeding?
I will clarify:

Football- bowls and bowl wins. If you can make the new tourney, do it. If one the new "upper 6" of OSU, MichAstros, PSU, USC, Oregon, or Washington is on your schedule and they are overhyped, see if you can upset them. Be the team that non-B1G can respect.

Men basketball- Tournament wins, sweet sixteens. Dang you are in same state as Chicago, so prove that you are sleeping giant and play in Final Four, maybe win one if you can hehe.

Shoot for the frickin' moon if you can.

(BTW my team just won the World Series and I am greedy as heck when comes to sports right now lol)
 
#23      
we have waited so long for East side and horseshoe modernization, Im okay with waiting a little longer if it means access to new donors hopping on the band wagon and doing it right .

In reality , we need to fully examine lowering the field a bit and not taking "Coach" Guenther's word on it. as is , the field is way toofar away from the first row of seats . just about every stadium that had a track, modified the stadium seating or lowered the field . We've done neither
I've said this in another thread somewhere I here. I think the horseshoe is the only spot where the distance is really an issue. That being said, I still think the field should be lowered but to raise the first row above the bench rather than bring them closer. The first row is literally at field level at Memorial, give or take an inch or two. Besides attendance, this is part of why they don't usually sell the first few rows and put tarps over them. It doesn't need to be lowered to the point of Michigan State (they have almost a 10ft drop, but maybe something a little shorter than The Big House.

Horseshoe and getting it closer to the field should always be the biggest priority tho imo.
 
#24      
The only thing that I think Whitman has whiffed on in his tenure is finding a sugar daddy for a D1 hockey program. He's been light years better than Thomas, and miles better than Guenther.

As noted, he still needs to keep working donors for $$$ to upgrade Memorial Stadium. We also need to significantly upgrade cash raised for football NIL, but there are limits to what HE can permissibly do on that front. Cherry on the sundae would be for golf or tennis (or basketball) to finally win a National Championship.
 
#25