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Mike Thomas

Cheerleaders for the Illinois Fighting Illini fire up their fans prior to a game.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Illini AD Thomas: ‘We’ve Got To Do Better’ In Chicago

There has long been an apparent gap between Chicago sports fans and the University of Illinois’ athletic programs and Illini Athletic Director Mike Thomas is determined to fix it.

670 The Score–12/19/2012

Tim Beckman. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Wisch: Illinois Football Has Problems Bigger Than Beckman

When the Chicago Cubs, coming off their 104th year of championship futility topped by 101-loss cherry, probably inspire more hope and interest than your football program does, you know you have a problem.

CBS Chicago–11/29/2012

Tim Beckman. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Beckman To Return As Illini Football Coach Next Year

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said football coach Tim Beckman will return to coach the Fighting Illini next year, despite managing only two wins this year – none of them against Big Ten rivals.

11/27/2012

Owen Daniels #81 of the Houston Texans celebrates a second quarter touchdown with Arian Foster #23 while playing the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 22, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Texans Top Lions 34-31 In OT After Coach’s Mistake

Jim Schwartz threw a challenge flag when he didn’t need to and the Houston Texans made him regret it.

11/22/2012

Memorial Stadium

Wisch: 5 Ways Illinois Can Crack Chicago

Last week, I canvassed a swath of Illini Nation via Twitter and Facebook, asking for suggestions about how the state’s flagship school could better connect with fans – both existing and prospective ones – in the city.

CBS Chicago–11/22/2012

Tim Beckman. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Wisch: When Exactly Will Illinois Football Win Again?

Tim Beckman – if he lasts another season – is likely to get another win at some point, he might never get his first Big Ten one.

CBS Chicago–10/30/2012

Tim Beckman. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Wisch: The Secret – And Sham – To Tim Beckman’s Success

Down in Champaign, where these days things are far more blue than orange, the Fighting Illini football team is a woeful 2-5 in head coach Tim Beckman’s first season.

670 The Score–10/18/2012

General photo of Illini football players. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Wisch: Illini Football Fans Deserve Better – And Need To Believe It

With Illinois licking its wounds at 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten following Saturday’s 31-14 thumping at Wisconsin, Beckman couldn’t be off to a much worse start in Champaign.

CBS Chicago–10/09/2012

Nathan Scheelhaase

Wisch: The Truth About Illinois Football

And this deeper dilemma affecting U. of I. athletics is so discouraging that after reading this column, you very well may be driven to drink yourself.

CBS Chicago–09/25/2012

(credit: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Wisch: Illini Football Game In Chicago A Sign Of The (Future) Times

Come 2013, the Illini are coming to town. Get used to it, Chicago, because it’s going to be happening often – and not just for football games.

CBS Chicago–08/11/2012

Nathan Scheelhaase (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Hoge’s Big Ten Preview: Illinois Fighting Illini

While Big Ten training camps are underway, Adam Hoge will devote an entire day to each of the 12 teams in the conference.

CBS Chicago–08/08/2012

Courtesy University of Illinois Athletics.

New Illini Theme: ‘ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM.’

Watch out, Chicago’s Big Ten Team, because there’s a different team that’s claiming the whole state.

CBS Chicago–08/03/2012

Cheerleaders for the Illinois Fighting Illini fire up their fans prior to a game.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Wisch: With House-Cleaning Done, Heat Is Now On Illini’s Thomas

On Thursday, the bad case of Illini indigestion was finally relieved when Ohio University’s John Groce was announced as the 17th men’s head coach in Illinois history during a press conference at Assembly Hall in Champaign.

CBS Chicago–03/30/2012

John Groce. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Illinois AD: Coaching Search ‘Went According To Plan’

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said most of those reports surrounding the school’s coaching search were completely untrue.

670 The Score–03/30/2012

Marquette head coach Buzz Williams. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Hoge: With Shaka Smart Out, Who Does Illinois Turn To Now?

Thomas’ latest rejection has left him in a tough spot. Other candidates now know how much money Illinois is willing to spend.

CBS Chicago–03/21/2012

Shaka Smart

Sources: Smart Has Offer From Illini; Smith Meets With Thomas

Sources close to Simeon head coach Robert Smith say he has been in Champaign having conversations with Thomas about an assistant job.

CBS Chicago–03/20/2012

VCU head coach Shaka Smart. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Report: Illinois Determined To Hire Shaka Smart

​As Illinois continues its search for a new head coach, new athletic director Mike Thomas is after one guy.

670 The Score–03/19/2012

Shaka Smart

Bernstein: Illini Hire Must Ignore Race

It’s difficult enough to hire the right basketball coach at Illinois, without choosing to limit the field of candidates beforehand.

670 The Score–03/18/2012

Tom Izzo. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Wisch: Izzo Needs To Mind His Own Business, Not Illinois’

Instead of making a brief statement in support of his friend, Izzo opted on Friday to instead unspool an inappropriate – and inaccurate – rant against Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas.

CBS Chicago–03/13/2012

Bruce Weber. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Illini AD Thomas Refuses To Comment On Izzo Rant

In an interview on The Mully & Hanley Show on 670 The Score, Thomas simply said he had no comment, after Izzo ripped him Friday at the Big Ten Tournament.

670 The Score–03/12/2012

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