Guenther had an almost Reinsdorfian loyalty to his coaches, usually pulling the trigger three years too late.
Then, when even he knew it was Time, he was in his last year as AD and didn't want to fire and hire when a new AD was coming.
Thomas was worse than Guenther. Thomas made terrible hires, and Guenther didn't want/know when to cut bait.
I think it's obvious that Mike Thomas turned out to be a disaster, but one thing we absolutely owe him (IMHO) is trying to rip us out of the "old days" as far as attitudes went. He did TRY to introduce a culture of "big time" athletics at U of I, emphasizing that we weren't the "University of East Central Illinois," as many of RG's detractors called us. Illinois effectively seemed to view itself as an elite private school that happened to be in Champaign, as far as athletics goes, and too many people were proud of that. That was RG's biggest sin, IMO, as it completely strangled long-term growth OR "keeping up with the Jones'."
We needed more of a Wisconsin or Iowa feel (i.e., being the CLEAR team of choice for any and all Illinoisans, alumni or not, in every corner of the state), and MT did put us on that path. His flaws MORE than outweigh that, of course, but I for one appreciated him trying to get games back at Soldier Field, marketing us as the STATE'S team (not just for Illinois alumni) and things like that.