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The Next Illinois AD Does Not Need To Be An Illini

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Please don't screw this up by limiting the field.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

As the search for the next athletic director at the University of Illinois creeps ever closer to the hundred days mark (today is day 76), a pervasive ideology seems to have crept into the fanbase: Illinois needs former Illini in charge to be good. And it's not just limited to the fans.

Former safety Rick Mitchem has been very vocal about replacing both Bill Cubit and Mike Thomas (and their staffs) with former Illinois players. Sergio McClain loudly announced that he is now a supervillain who will hold basketball recruiting hostage until he is named the new coach. It's been a long few months.

Illinois needs a new athletic director. Interim AD Paul Kowalcyzk's tenure has made than painfully obvious. But there is zero reason the next AD needs to be a former Illini, just like there's no reason to limit potential head coaching candidates to former Illini as well.

Everyone loves making fun of Michigan for their ridiculous "Michigan Man" nonsense. And that's because it's just that: complete and utter nonsense. Hire the best person available for the job. The best basketball and football coaches in the country neither attended nor played for the universities they are thriving at. It's in no way a requirement for success!

Would it be a great story if a former Illini came home and led the program back to glory? Of course! And if the best available candidate for the job happens to be someone who spent their formative years in Chambana then that's fantastic and sign them right away. But the school can't afford to be so tunnel-visioned as to only consider former Illini as acceptable candidates.