(CBS/AP) The University of Illinois has hired former Fighting Illini football player Josh Whitman as its new athletic director, sources tell CBS 2’s Ryan Baker.
Whitman replaces Mike Thomas, who was fired last fall amid a player mistreatment scandal, though the school has said he did nothing wrong. Thomas was fired just more than two months after he had fired football coach Tim Beckman amid allegations that Beckman had interfered in players’ medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt.
Seven women’s basketball players have sued the school claiming coach Matt Bollant and some staff created a racially abusive environment.
The 37-year-old Whitman was an academic All-American when he played tight end for the Illini from 1997-2000. He graduated from Illinois with a law degree and a bachelor’s degree in finance.
He had been serving as the athletic director for Division-III Washington University in St. Louis since 2014. During that span, Bears teams won four national championships and 21 conference titles.
Whitman also previously served as athletic director at Wisconsin-La Crosse for four years.
Whitman also worked in the athletic administration at Illinois for almost four years, first as a coordinator of special projects and then as assistant to then-athletic director Ron Guenther.
Whitman is from West Lafayette, Indiana, the son of a retired school teacher.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.