Josh Whitman approved as new Illini AD by Board of Trustees

Illinois’ new athletic director Josh Whitman and Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson pose for photos after an introductory press conference announcing Whitman as the next Illinois athletic director.

By Abigale Svoboda

The Board of Trustees officially approved Josh Whitman’s appointment as the University’s athletic director on Monday.

The Executive Committee of the board met in Chicago to discuss Whitman’s hiring and compensation. Whitman, who will be signed to a five-year contract, will earn $600,000 a year as an annual base salary.

According to the resolution approved by the board, Whitman will also be able to earn up to $200,000 a year in added compensation for accomplishing “specific academic and athletic performance goals as determined in advance by the chancellor.”

Whitman said at an introductory press conference on Feb. 18 that he’s known this is what he’s wanted to do for years. 

“I’ve lived this moment in my mind probably a million times,” he said. 

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    Whitman’s appointment is effective as of March 5, and his first full day as the new Illinois athletic director will be March 21. Whitman comes in after months of searching for the University’s replacement of former athletic director Mike Thomas, who was fired in November. Thomas’ dismissal triggered a $2.5 million buyout in his contract with the University.  

    The resolution also states he will be eligible for full standard benefits available to all University employees. Whitman’s salary is paid for by non-appropriated institutional funds in the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics operating budget.

    Whitman served as the athletic director at Washington University in St. Louis since 2014. He served as Wisconsin-La Crosse’s athletic director from 2011 to 2014. Whitman played football at Illinois from 1997-2000 before spending four years in the NFL. He returned to the University in 2005 to attend law school.

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