courtesy Illinois athletics

Illini baseball coach Dan Hartleb: 'Extremely important...that we get the right person' as new AD

Illinois baseball coach expresses confidence in university leadership to make the right hire, doesn't mind a drawn-out search

Dan Hartleb had grand plans he wanted to set into motion during the offseason. Following a record 2015 season that included 50 wins, Big Ten championship and the program's first, Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas had made a commitment to making Illinois baseball one of the Big Ten's elite programs.

Thomas inked Hartleb to a five-year contract extension that almost doubled his salary (from $155,000 to $290,000) and had started a push -- with Hartleb -- for an almost $15 million renovation of Illinois Field.

But following Thomas' dismissal on November, those plans were put on hold. With the athletics director search now in month four, some of Hartleb's plans are still on hold.

“I think everybody right now is in a wait-and-see mode," Hartleb said on Wednesday. "People you’ve asked for contributions and large donations for the stadium have kind of been on hold for a bit because they want to see who the leadership is."

But Hartleb said he is not sweating the wait.

“I know our administration, both President (Timothy) Killeen and interim chancellor (Barbara) Wilson, are going to do a great job on this search. It’s extremely important for our athletic department, it’s extremely important for the university, it’s extremely important for this community that we get the right person.

“What I’ve said all along is that if you get the right person in a week, great. If it takes a year to get the right person, don’t settle. Just make sure that you’re going to make a good decision. I’m really excited that they’re taking their time and not rushing into things and making sure they know a lot about the person, the background. Because we don’t need to make a mistake. We need to get somebody who can rally the troops, have some charisma, continues to hire good coaches and support all the programs. A big, big hire, but I really have a lot of faith in our administration.”

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