Dee staying with Illini

Former Illini basketball great Dee Brown takes permanent role as special assistant to Illinois athletic director

CHAMPAIGN - Illinois announced that former Illini basketball great Dee Brown will take a permanent role within the athletic department as special assistant to athletic director Mike Thomas. Brown had accepted a temporary role in the same position during the summer.

Brown -- 2005 Sporting News National Player of the Year and 2006 Bob Cousy Award winner -- began the permanent role on Tuesday. His position will include representing the university at off-campus functions and events; building relationships with campus leaders, business leaders and donors; outreach and fund-raising efforts; and assistance in recruiting efforts allowed by NCAA rules.

"Dee has great passion for the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini athletics," Thomas said in a statement. "He did an exceptional job with us this summer and we are pleased to expand his role to full-time capacity. Dee's enthusiasm and desire to see our student-athletes and teams become the best will be a great driving force as we continue to improve across all areas as a department."

Brown played professionally since his graduation in 2006, including a short stint in the NBA. He spent most of the last eight years overseas, but will start his post-playing career at his alma mater. Brown has said he eventually wants to coach.

"I was blessed to play the game of basketball professionally for many years, but felt this was the right time to make the transition to a career off the court," Brown said in a statement. "I can't think of a better situation than to be able to be around my family more while working for the school I love, the University of Illinois. The opportunity this summer has only strengthened my feelings for Illinois; it's exciting to be back on campus assisting my alma mater."

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