With the search for a new athletics director soon coming to a close, University of Illinois special assistant to the director of athletics Dee Brown released a statement to Illini fans.
"I'm no stranger to tough times. Growing up on the West Side of Chicago, I had to learn early to stay positive and use the challenges I faced every day as motivation to succeed.
"When the chance to advance to the 2005 Final Four was on the line, and we were down 15 to Arizona with 3:57 left, I knew what had to happen. We won that game because we stayed together and we believed in each other.
"We need that type of faith and you on the team now.
"Since I've been back in Champaign, I've seen a fan base that's hungry for success. I understand your frustrations, I'm a fan too! I want to see all Illini teams compete at the highest levels. In order to move forward, we must let go of the failures and resentments of the past and look forward.
"Soon, we will welcome a new director of athletics. Like any new beginning, you can make of this announcement what you choose. My hope is that you choose to join me in working together to give our new leader every chance to be successful.
"The challenges we face will not be solved overnight, and I'm asking for your patience.
"Some observers will say the challenges are too great. These are individuals who have not walked in my shoes. To me, it's an enormous opportunity, plain and simple."