Big Ten

Report: Illini to name Washington University's Josh Whitman new AD


Report: Illini to name Washington University's Josh Whitman new AD

A search that's taken months might finally be coming to an end.

According to a Tuesday-night report from CBS Chicago's Ryan Baker, Illinois will name Josh Whitman its new athletics director.

Whitman is currently the athletics director at Washington University in St. Louis but has deep ties to Illinois. Whitman played as a tight end for the Illini football team for four years, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors his senior season, Academic All-Big Ten honors three times and Illinois’ Outstanding Male Scholar-Athlete award three years in a row. He graduated from the university in 2001 and returned to work in various capacities in the Illinois athletics department from 2005 to 2008 while also earning his law degree in Champaign.

Between his college career and his time working at Illinois, he pursued a professional football career with four different NFL teams.

Whitman has worked as Washington's AD since August 2014, which followed a four-year tenure as the athletics director at Wisconsin-La Crosse.

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Fighting Illini gear right here]

Illinois is still in need of a new athletics director following Mike Thomas' departure back in November after a complete report revealed ugly details of the behavior of former head football coach Tim Beckman.

It wasn't until a full month after Thomas' departure that the school even announced that a search for a new athletics director was underway, with interim chancellor Barbara Wilson announcing that a search committee of faculty members and others with university ties would be conducting the search. Two weeks after that, the school announced the search firm Korn Ferry would help with the search for Thomas' replacement.

And during the process, one report described the search's dysfunction, with candidates contacted via their university email addresses, vetting done in atypical fashion and interest impacted due to Wilson's interim status.

Whitman was reported as one of the seven candidates Illinois was interviewing earlier this month.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal


Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.