Guenther meets the press

Guenther meets the press

Illinois athletic director Ron Guenther met with reporters Wednesday afternoon. Among the topics of discussion:

- A raise for football coach Ron Zook, up to $1.75 million. His assistants all received raises, too. Offensive coordinator Paul Petrino is up to $525,000, defensive coordinator Vic Koenning up to $342,000.

The biggest bump, besides the one for Petrino, belongs to running backs coach DeAndre Smith. He got a $45,000 raise, taking him to $180,000 because of a competitive offer to join the staff at Indiana.

The total compensation bump for the staff, including Zook, is more than $420,000.

- Illinois will seek naming rights for the Assembly Hall. Renovation will begin at the earliest in the spring of 2012, a notion to be discussed the March Board of Trustrees meeting. Guenther made it clear he wants more students near the floor. Illinois is in the very early stages of the renovation process.

Guenther said he won't need to remain as athletic director for the Assembly Hall rehab to move forward. And he also offered the chance he could be part of the process after his athletic director days end.

- During renovation, Guenther doesn't want to move Illinois home games to another arena.

- No decision has been made on Guenther's future. He has a contract until July 1.

"There's a lot of things I'd still like to achieve," Guenther said.

- Guenther has full confidence in Bruce Weber despite what he said is a frustrating stretch: "He's a wonderful coach." But Guenther expects an NCAA tournament bid every year.

- Guenther said next season will go a long way to determine women's coach Jolette Law's future.

- Guenther wants the football team to be in a bowl game every year and believes that is realistic. But he points out the Big Ten has become a better league with the addition of Nebraska.

- He wants at least seven home games every season. The eight home games in 2011 wasn't by design. It just out that way as the series with Missouri ended.

- The work at Memorial Stadium isn't done. He wants to renovated the East and South ends. There is a plan to honor former players, including Dick Butkus and George Halas.



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