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Illinois to extend Josh Whitman through 2031

The AD is staying in CU.

Brad Repplinger // TCR

Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman will receive a raise and contract extension later this month, according to a release from the university.

The three-year extension will be considered at the Nov. 16 Board of Trustees meeting.

The new eight-year contract will keep Whitman with Illinois through June 2031 “and hopefully beyond,” as Whitman penned in an open letter Thursday afternoon.

“Josh Whitman will be the third-longest serving athletic director in the Big Ten Conference by next summer,” said University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Robert J. Jones in a statement. “His thoughtful and decisive leadership has been a critical stabilizing force in both the Big Ten and here at Illinois through one of the most tumultuous and challenging periods in the history of collegiate athletics. This new contract ensures that his voice and vision will continue to guide our athletic programs here at Illinois for many years to come.”

Whitman joined Illinois in early 2016 and quickly fired Bill Cubit and brought on Lovie Smith. He has also made high-profile hires in men’s (Brad Underwood) and women’s basketball (Nancy Fahey, Shauna Green) and volleyball (Chris Tamas) during his tenure (as well as his second football hire in Bret Bielema).

The new contract raises Whitman’s salary to $1.5 million each year. He is also eligible for bonuses.

“The contract also reworks Whitman’s buyout provision, providing significant protections for the University against Whitman’s departure,” a release reads.