The University of Illinois and director of athletics Josh Whitman agreed to a contract extension through June 30, 2024 on Thursday.

Both Illinois Athletics and Whitman celebrated the news on Twitter:

Here’s a portion of Whitman’s statement posted on

“This morning (Thursday, November 14), the University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved an extension to my contract to serve as your director of athletics through June 30, 2024. Hope (Whitman’s wife) and I are humbled by the University’s generosity, grateful for the many friendships we have formed over these first years of my tenure, and appreciative of the opportunity to continue raising our young children in Champaign-Urbana.

“I cannot adequately express the pride I feel to feel our Fighting Illini Family in such a meaningful capacity, and I look forward to continuing our shared pursuit of excellence in the years to come.”

Playing tight end for the Illini under head coach Ron Turner from 1997-2000, Whitman had a brief career in the National Football League with the Buffalo Bills (2001), San Diego Chargers (2001-02), Miami Dolphins (2003) and Seattle Seahawks (2004).

Beginning his athletic administration career with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse in 2010, he returned to Champaign in 2016.

One of Whitman’s first moves on-campus was to replace Bill Cubit with Lovie Smith as the school’s football coach. While Smith’s first three years were underwhelming, the 2019 Illini have already clinched their first bowl berth since the 2014 season.

Looking to reach the seven-win mark for the first time since the Ron Zook era in 2011, Illinois (6-4) will next be in action on November 23 against No. 20 Iowa (6-3) at Kinnick Stadium (12:00PM ET, BTN).