At 28, Theo Epstein was the youngest general manager in the history of Major League Baseball ... too young to run the Boston Red Sox.
Really? Two years later in 2004, the Bosox won their first World Series in 86 years and repeated in 2007. He moved to the Chicago Cubs in October 2011, at roughly the same age then as 37-year-old Josh Whitman, new Illini athletic director, is now.
Shortly after being named the UI’s 14th athletic director, Josh Whitman reached out via email to the school’s I-Fund donors. Tagged “A Special Message from AD Josh Whitman,” the note read:
By BOB ASMUSSEN and MATT DANIELS
CHAMPAIGN — A former Illini is set to become the new athletic director at Illinois.
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Illinois is about to do something out of recent character: make the right choice.
It is the devious nature of the beast that those with the strongest credentials for the UI athletic directorship could not allow themselves to be interviewed last week.
That’s the way it works. Top people don’t apply. Heady programs seek them out.
Happy birthday today to former Illini soccer coach Tricia Taliaferro, now the women’s development coach for U.S. Soccer. Her current assignment is serving as the main scout for the Under-16 Girls’ National Team. She’s the daughter of UI football alum Mike Taliaferro, an Illini quarterback in 1962 and ’63.
Question for the day: With long-awaited news ready to pop any day, how many rabbits can a new athletic director pull out of his hat to settle Illini Nation’s unrest?
Born 97 years ago Sunday was baseball icon Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the major leagues in the modern era. From 1947 through 1956, the former UCLA football and baseball star led the Brooklyn Dodgers.
If you know the next UI athletic director, you are more informed than the rest of us.
My take has always been: The quest is running on parallel tracks, one leading to Colorado AD Rick George and the other involving everyone else, mostly those with Illini backgrounds like Josh Whitman, Larry Lubin and Tom Michael.