News Local/State

U of I Hires Next Athletic Director


A University of Illinois official familiar with the decision says the school has hired Washington University athletic director Josh Whitman as its new AD.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been announced publicly.
Whitman takes over for Mike Thomas, who was fired Nov. 9, though interim Chancellor Barb Wilson said he had done nothing wrong.
Thomas was fired just over two months after he had fired football coach Tim Beckman amid allegations that Beckman had interfered in players' medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt.
Seven women's basketball players have sued the school claiming coach Matt Bollant and some staff created a racially abusive environment.
Whitman, a U of I graduate and former Illini football player, is expected to be formally introduced Thursday morning. He has served as athletic director at Division Three Washington University in St. Louis since 2014.  

When asked about the appointment Tuesday night, following Illinois' men's basketball win over Rutgers, head  coach John Groce did not mention Whitman specifically, but said he looked forward to having a new athletic director.

“I think it’ll be great for the Athletic Department to have a rudder on the ship," said Groce. "It should be good. I’m excited to move forward."