Josh Whitman is expected to receive another contract extension next week, keeping him in Champaign through at least the 2027-28 academic year.
The extension issue on the agenda for the May 19 UI Board of Trustees meeting.
The move was first reported Friday morning by The News-Gazette.
With the four-year extension, the 43-year-old Whitman will make more than $1 million per year by the 2023-24 academic year.
According to the agenda items, he will also get $200,000 in 2024, 2026 and 2028 if he is still employed by the University.
The new deal also makes it more costly for Whitman to leave for another job. He would owe the University $1.8 million, which will be reduced each year by $300,000.
But for anyone who has followed Whitman’s six years at Illinois, it’s unlikely he would ever leave for another job. The former NFL player and lawyer won a Big Ten title playing football at Illinois, and has said repeatedly that this is his dream job and he wants to “write one of the great stories in the history of college sports.”
While it’s fair to say some of Whitman’s big hires have turned out to be less-than-stellar (Lovie Smith, Nancy Fahey), men’s basketball and football do seem to be moving in the right direction. And some of the sports Illinois is known for being historically great at (volleyball, men’s golf), have definitely taken steps in the right direction toward even more national prominence.
Having spent time around Whitman for the past six years, the man certainly bleeds Orange and Blue. And I’m not sure there’s another AD that Illinois can get that would care more about the program.
How would you grade Whitman’s first six years in Champaign?