It's always a good sign when other schools hire University of Illinois employees.
Congratulations are due to former Fighting Illini basketball player and current senior associate athletic director Tom Michael.
Named on Monday as the new athletic director at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, the longtime UI athletic department employee now will have the chance to run his own shop.
Michael has handled a variety of jobs in the UI Division of Intercollegiate Athletics since his playing days under former head coach Lou Henson, most recently overseeing the massive renovation of the State Farm Center (the former Assembly Hall).
But longtime Champaign-Urbana residents will remember him mostly from his earliest days on campus as a model student-athlete. A major contributor on the court, Michael was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the UI.
Given his experience as an athlete and athletics administrator, Michael brings a solid foundation to his new job. He knows what's required to succeed in the classroom and in the athletic arena, as well as the importance of doing all he can to help today's athletes do both.
The UI will, no doubt, miss Michael. But UI athletic director Mike Thomas was correct when he pointed out that Michael "has worked very hard over his career with this goal in mind."
It's always great to see hard work pay off. He'll have his hands full at EIU, but Michael can be expected to bring the same discipline and attention to detail that served him so well here.