Athletics Director Mike Thomas Earns Two-Year Contract Extension
Jan. 23, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The University of Illinois Board of Trustees approved Thursday a two-year contract extension for UI Director of Athletics Mike Thomas. The extension takes the agreement to Aug. 28, 2019.
"In his tenure at Illinois, Mike Thomas has kept his focus squarely on the 'student' when it comes to our student-athletes," said UI Chancellor Phyllis Wise. "He has developed a leadership team of coaches, administrators and advancement officers who are dedicated to building a sustainable and nationally recognized program that ensures our student-athletes' success on the playing field and in the classroom. He understands that the Illinois experience for these students is one that isn't measured in years of eligibility, but in preparing them for lives of impact."
"I greatly appreciate the support given by Chancellor Wise and the Board of Trustees," said Thomas. "We have a great group of student-athletes, coaches and administrative staff who are committed to making the University of Illinois the best in the nation, not only athletically, but on the academic side and in the community. We still have a lot we plan to accomplish, but all things are possible when you have outstanding people around you."
Thomas began his tenure at Illinois on Aug. 29, 2011, with an initial five-year contract, with an option for a two-year extension after a 24-month review at the Chancellor's discretion. A 28-year veteran of college athletics administration, Illinois has won a national championship in men's gymnastics and was national runner-up in volleyball (2012) and men's golf (2013) under Thomas' leadership. Fifteen of 19 varsity teams participated in post season play over the last two academic years. The Fighting Illini have produced eight individual national champions and 54 individual All-Americans during the past two years. In 2012, Illinois finished 21st in the final Learfield Director's Cup standings, the second-best finish in school history.
Under Thomas' leadership, the DIA has also enjoyed success in numerous facets of administration, operations and in the community. The University launched the $165 million State Farm Center renovation project and entered into the largest corporate naming rights deal for a college-only venue in the country in the $60 million naming rights and sponsorship agreement with State Farm. In addition to the State Farm agreement, the DIA secured cash and pledge commitments in FY13 totaling $34,065,764, which is a record for Fighting Illini Athletics. Also in FY13, DIA received $19.5 million in cash donations (third-most in DIA history) for I FUND scholarships, endowments, planned gifts and premium seating revenue.
In the community, UI student-athletes, coaches and staff completed more than 7,000 hours of community service on an annual basis, and increase from previous years. And, Illinois' student-athlete 2013 graduation rate of 90 percent tied for the the best in school history (1998) and followed a graduation rate of 89 percent in 2012. UI finished second both years in the Big Ten in student-athlete graduation rates, including best among public institutions. In 2012-13, Illinois set a school record with six teams earning the NCAA Public Recognition Award based on their most recent Academic Progress Rate (APR), and 19 of the 21 Illini teams equaled or exceeded national APR averages for their respective sports, including four with perfect 1,000 multi-year APR rates.
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