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Volume 26 No. 226
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Illinois AD Josh Whitman Signs Three-Year Contract Extension

The Univ. of Illinois BOT "approved a three-year contract extension" for AD Josh Whitman, which will keep him under contract through June '24 and "raise his annual base salary" from $668,561 to $750,000, according to Jeremy Werner of 247SPORTS.com. Since being hired in March '16, Whitman has "undertaken a massive program rebuild, especially for the program's most visible sports," such as the the football team clinching their "first bowl bid" since '14. Whitman also has "significantly boosted fundraising efforts" at the school. This summer, the school "completed construction" of an $80M football-only training facility, and the athletics department is "in the middle" of fundraising efforts for a $30M renovation to the Ubben Basketball Complex (247SPORTS.com, 11/14).

BRINGING THE ENERGY: Whitman has quickly earned a reputation as one of the nation's best fundraisers, and his relentless approach has brought a much-needed energy to the Champaign campus. Sources close to Whitman said that the '18 SBJ "Forty Under 40" recipient is a smart, hard-charging leader. Whitman has struck a chord with the school's biggest donors, spinning tales from his playing days or speaking from the heart about his plan to turn around his alma mater with equal effectiveness. Just this week, Whitman collected a $5M gift for the Ubben Basketball Complex renovation. Whitman has secured 20 gifts of at least $1M as well as a school-record $20M donation and a $15M naming-rights gift for the football center (Michael Smith, SBJ College).