Marching Illini director seeking same position at Ohio State

Marching Illini director seeking same position at Ohio State

The Director of the University of Illinois Marching Illini and Athletic Bands is one of the finalists for the same position at the Ohio State University.

OSU Senior Director of Communications Gary Lewis said Barry Houser, who is also Assistant Band Director at the UI, is on the OSU campus this week participating in the interview process for that school's marching band director.

Houser was unavailable for comment at this time.  He has been at the UI since the summer of 2011, after three years at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.

Lewis said another finalist for the OSU job is Dr. Corey Spurlin from Auburn University.  Lewis didn't confirm the number of finalists, only to say there are a number of finalists being interviewed at this time. There's no word yet on when a decision will be made.

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Illiniwek66 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Massive fail on the part of UI if they let Barry Houser go.  His salary has been ridiculously low ($66,785 according to what I can discover), given the prestige, etc. that the Marching Illini brings to the university.By comparison, his counterpart on the sideline makes $1,800,000.  He's in his fourth year as the MI director, and virtually anyone that attends a football game has surely seen the huge improvement in the energy level of the MI, and the things that they bring to an otherwise lackluster atmosphere.  I most certainly hope that the chancellor will step up and make the necessary changes in wages to keep him on staff.  Chancellor Wise, if you or your staff read these comments, I hope you will do the right thing and fix this.  Let's keep Illinois excellent.  Go Illini!

Illiniwek21 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 4:04 pm

As a member of the MI it frustrates me. I understand why Barry would do this, it makes sense. He's grossly underpaid, and undervalued by our Administration. For these past 4 years of horror, that which have been Illinois football, The band has actually done a full turnaround from where it was headed, and been able to maintain a high quality. Even for all his work, he makes around 4% of what Beckman makes. His base salary is barely higher than the median income of Newly Hired Engineer or Business graduates from Illinois and he's raising two kids. Over the course of a typical fall semester, he works two jobs, Athletic bands director, and Assistant Director of Bands and alot of the time he's responsible for writing all our drill, fundraising, directing rehearsals and many other tasks that leave him less time with his growing family. What I'm getting at here is that if he goes, not only will this be devastating for the Marching Illini and a huge setback for the whole program, but it also is representative of the absolute failure of our Administration and Division of intercollegiate athletics to recognize one of their best Human assets and value him to the level he deserves. This man is a fantastic leader and individual, and if the Illinois board and Chancellor fail to recognize that, they deserve what they get when he leaves. I see no reason why they shouldn't act to retain him and I call on Chancellor Wise, and Mike Thomas to attempt to do just that.

Sancho Panza wrote on April 06, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Is MI still partially funded by DIA?  Based on fundraising literature, and some of their performances, it appears that they've transitioned to being controlled by School of Music.

Great person and enthusiastic leader.  Hope Illinois can keep him.

Illiniwek21 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 6:04 pm

The answer is yes, we are technically still a part of the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics due to our involvement in gameday operations. Fundraising has taken on a much broader role in recent years, with almost all the credit for that going to Barry. We do get funding from the School of Music as well as MI is also a class taken for actual credit.

Bundy180 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 4:04 pm

Shame on the NG for this article. Not only is it misleading, but more importantly, this is NOBODY'S BUSINESS except for Professor Houser and his family. There is absolutely no good reason this should have been published. If a man wants to explore other job opportunities, that is up to him, and no one else needs to know. Disgraceful "journalism". 

Illiniwek66 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 6:04 pm

An Ohio State publication had an article about it.  Numerous OSU students were posting questions for members of the Marching Illini about Professor Houser.  It was pretty well known.  Did you want the NG to ignore it?

Illiniwek21 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 6:04 pm

It's honestly best that we DO know about it. And Here's why.

1: If he's gonna go, we'd best know early for preparation's sake.

2: In the event that he stays, Barry may be leveraging his position in an attempt to either get a higher personal salary( which he definitely deserves based on his current rate of pay), or to achieve a better standing for the Marching Illini on the priorities of DIA and the administration.

3: If he goes, I want everyone to know everything about how tOSU's administration had the nerve to poach a director from another B1G school with complete disregard about how that may affect their current program. They created this mess, and they will be the ones who need to look like Jerks if they want to fix their band problems at the expense of another.

BruckJr wrote on April 06, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Do you think we poached Houser from EIU?

Illiniwek21 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 8:04 pm

I've thought about that, and the answer is no. Reason because he was a graduate student here under Gary Smith, and when Griffin called it quits, Houser was referred by Smith as the obvious replacement. In this case, OSU is not only breaking with a long-standing tradition internal recruitment, but they're seeking people already established in leadership roles in large conference bands like B1G and in the case of Auburn, the SEC.

**accidentally posted the same thing above as well.**

Illiniwek21 wrote on April 06, 2015 at 8:04 pm

I've thought about that, and the answer is no. Reason because he was a graduate student here under Gary Smith, and when Griffin called it quits, Houser was referred by Smith as the obvious replacement. In this case, OSU is not only breaking with a long-standing tradition internal recruitment, but they're seeking people already established in leadership roles in large conference bands like B1G and in the case of Auburn, the SEC.

**was meant in response to a comment. Ignore this post**

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