1. #1
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    Changes for the Illini.. I think it's for the good...

    Fighting Illini Icon Ron Guenther Retires After 19 Years as Athletics

    Illinois Director of Athletics Ron Guenther announced today his
    retirement upon the completion of his contract on June 30. The longest-
    tenured athletics director in the Big Ten, Guenther leaves the position
    after 19 highly successful years in which Fighting Illini teams captured
    34 Big Ten Championships, made a men's basketball Final Four appearance
    and made six football bowl appearances. He also made an impression
    nationally as a member of the BCS Football Committee since its inception,
    as a member of the Bowl Certification Committee for seven years and as a
    member of the NCAA Championships Cabinet.

    "After giving considerable thought I have made the decision not to extend
    my contract as Athletic Director and will retire on July 1, 2011,"
    Guenther said. "For the last several months, I have been working with
    Chancellor Easter and administration on a succession plan for my
    position. A search committee is being formed and will begin work
    immediately to find my successor. I am confident an outstanding leader
    can be in place by mid-to-late summer.

    "The last 19 years have gone extremely fast and a decision to retire has
    been very difficult. I personally want to thank all the members of the
    DIA as well as our colleagues in the academic community for their
    support. I have been fortunate to work with an extremely talented and
    loyal group. I will always be indebted. Additionally, the Illinois fan
    base is the best in the nation. I've always said we are fortunate to have
    individuals who have great passion and loyalty for the University of

    In fact, few in the history of the UI leave a legacy as long and deep as
    Guenther. Under his tenure, the UI made unprecedented strides in
    facilities, with the $121 million Memorial Stadium Renaissance project
    becoming the biggest construction project in the history of the
    institution. Other major facilities completed while Guenther was
    athletics director includes the Irwin Indoor Football Facility, the Ubben
    Basketball Practice Facility, the Irwin Academic Center, Illinois Field
    for baseball, the UI Outdoor Track and Field and Soccer Stadium, the
    Atkins Tennis Center, the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex, the Demirjian Golf
    Facility, Eichelberger Softball Field and the Irwin Football Complex,
    housing coaches offices, locker rooms, sports medicine, strength and
    conditioning facilities and meeting rooms for Illini football.

    Long considered one of the nation's top athletics fundraisers, Guenther
    has been instrumental in soliciting gift commitments totaling more than
    $300 million toward capital improvements at Illinois during the last 19
    years. Endowment fundraising under Guenther's leadership has gone from $2
    million invested to more than $40 million in 2011, with an additional $40
    million pledged. In the same fashion, the annual fund has grown from $2.4
    million to nearly $8 million this year. As a member of the UI Library
    Brilliant Futures Campaign steering committee, he initiated a $1 million
    gift from the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics to the campaign.

    As the Director of Athletics, Guenther demanded a culture of unbending
    integrity. The first item on the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics
    Mission Statement is just that - Integrity. He also stressed fiscal
    responsibility, with the DIA finishing in the black the final 17 years of
    his tenure. Guenther was named the NACDA/Continental Airlines Central
    Region Athletic Director of the Year in 2001.

    "During his tenure as athletic director, Ron Guenther has transformed
    Illinois athletics to a perennial Top 20 program that is known for its
    integrity," said interim Vice President and Chancellor Bob Easter. "Under
    Ron's leadership, our athletic facilities have become state-of-the-art
    and our programs to support student-athletes as scholars have become
    second to none. His achievements are world-class in every area - from a
    national champion runner-up basketball finish in 2005 to a 'Program of
    Excellence' award for the CHAMPS/Life Skills program to the Illinois
    Renaissance renovation of Memorial Stadium. Ron has been an exemplary
    leader, and our students will benefit from his vision for years to come."

    Guenther began his career as an Illini football player in 1963 as a
    freshman on the Big Ten championship squad featuring Dick Butkus and Jim
    Grabowski that went on to win the Rose Bowl. He went on to earn team Most
    Valuable Player honors as a senior in 1966, when he also was named second-
    team All-Big Ten as an offensive guard. He also was named first-team
    Academic All-Big Ten honors and recognition as the University's
    outstanding senior in physical education.

    Guenther was named the 17th Director of Athletics on May 14, 1992, after
    serving two years with the UI Foundation as Director of Major Gifts. His
    career also includes eight years at North Central College in Naperville,
    Ill, including a stint from 1975-79 as director of admissions and also as
    an associate head football coach. From 1979-83, he served as the vice
    president of development and public affairs at North Central. As
    associate head football coach, Guenther helped the Cardinals amass a 23-
    12-2 record, including the school's first winning season in 15 years.

    Before moving to North Central College, Guenther was the offensive line
    coach at Boston College from 1971-74, helping develop nine NFL players.
    From 1968-71, Guenther was a teacher and coached football, wrestling and
    track and field for the Evanston Township and Glenbard High School
    systems in suburban Chicago.

    A native of Elmhurst, Ill., and a graduate of York High School, he
    lettered at Illinois in 1965 and 1966, helping Illinois to a 24-14-1
    record in his four seasons. Guenther earned team MVP honors on a squad
    that produced five All-Americans in 1966. He was inducted into the
    Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

  2. #2
    Golazo De Riverrrr!
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    Wow, who gives a rats ass.