UI trustees OK contracts for Groce, administrators

CHICAGO — The multimillion-dollar contract for head basketball coach John Groce was unanimously approved by University of Illinois trustees on Thursday, with no public discussion.

Groce, who was hired in March, will be paid $1.4 million annually for five years.

The board also approved the six-year contract for women’s basketball coach Mike Bollant, who will earn $330,000 annually.

Trustees had raised questions in January about the hiring of head football coach Tim Beckman, with board members Lawrence Oliver and James Montgomery voting against it. They said they weren´t convinced a sufficient effort had been made to hire a black head coach and said the board should have had an opportunity for a “meaningful review” of Beckman´s five-year, $9 million contract when he was hired in December, not a month later. One issue was the $100,000 annual raises built in to the agreement.

Athletic Director Mike Thomas addressed their concerns in writing and met with trustees in March to explain the search process for the basketball coach. Sevearl trustees said after Groce’s hiring that they were satisfied with his commitment to diversity.

“I was happy with the process,” Oliver said Thursday. “The director before the search definitely gave us some comfort that we were emphasizing the right themes.”

Trustees approved several other key administrative appointments on Thursday, including the promotion of Urbana engineering Dean Ilesanmi “Ade” Adesida to vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost. Adesida has been engineering dean since 2006 and a professor on the Urbana campus since 1987. He will replace interim Provost Richard Wheeler, who filled in for interim Provost Robert Easter. The last permanent provost was Linda Katehi, who left in 2009 to become chancellor at the University of California Davis. Adesida will earn $430,000 in the new post.

UI Springfield also has a new permanent provost: Patricia Pardie, who has been serving as the interim provost. She will earn $178,000.

And Peter Schiffer was approved as vice chancellor for research at the Urbana campus. Schiffer is a physics professor and administrator at Penn State University. He will earn $300,000.

Also Thursday, trustees approved:

— A $23 million renovation of the UI Chemistry Annex, 601 S. Mathews Ave., U., that will update laboratories and build a small addition. The project is being funded by student fees and institutional funds, which come from a portion of grant money that goes to administration.

— A $3.47 million construction contract with Turner Construction Co. of Chicago for a third residence hall at Ikenberry Commons, the residence and dining hall complex in Champaign. It will be built at the corner of First and Gregory streets.

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Dann001 wrote on June 01, 2012 at 1:06 pm

Hold the phone here!!! You mean to tell me that Groce has been working here as Head Coach,  for almost two months and is just now getting the okay from the BOT??? What would have happened had they not approved him? This administration is so out of touch with reality! Why not have Turner Construction break ground two months ago on the third res. hall, if this is the way business is conducted here? Because they never would have agreed to such a ridiculous proposition. No wonder Chew ran away! What a foolish way of doing business!