CHICAGO (CBS) The University of Illinois has hired the firm Parker Executive Search to help the school find the successor to retiring athletic director Ron Guenther, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Hine.

Larry DeBrock is the head of Illinois’ search committee to find a new AD, he recently told Hine that the university hadn’t originally planned to use an outside firm to help with the process, but after realizing the amount of information the committee wanted to collect from candidates, as well was their desire to keep the search confidential, they decided to hire a firm.

“They’ve done a lot of high-profile athletic searches where you need to convey a sense to potential candidates that we have this confidentiality issue under control, that we know what we’re doing here and we can handle this issue,” DeBrock told Hine in a phone interview when talking about Parker Executive Search. “That will help us in terms of making everybody feel more comfortable in the process.”

DeBrock told Hine that he hopes to have a successor in place when Guenther’s contract expires on July 1. Those interested in the position have until June 3 to submit their names for consideration. While DeBrock would specify the exact number of applications they’ve received, he told Hine “there’s a lot of interest.”

On May 16, Guenther announced that he would retire at the end of his current contract, after 19 years as Illinois’ athletic director.

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