Josh Whitman is sticking around Champaign through at least June 2028, after his contract extension was approved Thursday by the University’s Board of Trustees.
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.
“I was pleased to submit to the Board an extension of Josh Whitman’s multiyear contract,” said Illinois Chancellor Robert Jones in a statement. “I look forward to working with Josh for many years and am very confident his leadership will keep Illinois Athletics on its upward trajectory.”
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.”
“I am grateful to everyone who has been part of our journey these last six years,” Whitman said in a statement. “Our work is far from over, and while we can be pleased with our progress, we can never be satisfied. I have never been more excited about our future!”
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.
And according to a news release, Illinois student-athletes have also set new marks academically during his time in power.
In the fall of 2021, the student-athletes posted a combined GPA of 3.30, the highest non-COVID semester on record. For 23 consecutive semesters, Illinois student-athletes have posted a combined GPA of 3.0 or better. In recent years, Illinois has also set school records for APR and graduation rates, including a 95% Graduation Success Rate in the most recent metrics.
Good job, U of I.