It's no secret that the University of Illinois has been searching for a new athletic director, and the hiring process is expected to conclude this week. Illinois basketball legend Dee Brown penned the following open letter to Illini fans, where he addressed low morale and frustrations while advocating for patience.
February 7, 2016
Open Letter to THE ILLINI NATION
I'm no stranger to tough times. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, I had to learn early to stay positive and use the challenges I faced every day as motivation to succeed.
When the chance to advance to the NCAA Final Four in 2005 was on the line, and we were down 15 to Arizona with 3:57 on the clock, I knew what had to happen. We won that game because we stayed togther and we believed in each other.
That type of support made a world of difference for all of us, and I know we can rally together and make it happen again.
We need that type of faith now. We need you on the team.
In the six months that I've been back in Champaign, I've seen an athletics department and fan base that is hungry for success. That hunger has played out in a variety of ways.
I understand your frustrations, I'm a fan, just like you. I want to see all Illini teams compete and achieve at the highest levels: in game or meet competition, classroom, community and, ultimately, in the workforce. In order for us to move forward, we have to let go of the failures and resentments, and look to the future with a positive attitude.
Soon, we will welcome a new Director of Athletics. Like any new beginning, you can make of this announcement what you choose. My hope is that you choose to join me in working together to give our new leader every chance to be successful.
The challenges we face will not be solved overnight, and I'm asking for your patience. There may be setbacks, but I believe that united in full support, we can compete at the highest level year after year.
I've seen this firsthand throughout my playing career and remember the impact it had on me, my team, this campus and this great community.
Some observers will say the challenges are too great. These are individuals who have not walked in my shoes. To me, it's an enormous opportunity, plain and simple.
With Love and Fighting Illini Pride,
As always, Dee Brown is the greatest. No matter how horrible things get, we'll always have at least one person that truly cares about this school.