Josh Whitman's e-mail to I-Fund donors
To my dear friends and fellow Illini,
As a graduate of our esteemed Colleges of Business and Law and a former Illini football player, it is with unspeakable pride that I pen this, my first letter as your new director of athletics. From the moment I realized, nearly 20 years ago, that this job existed, I have dreamed of being the athletic director at Illinois. Today that dream becomes a reality. I thank you for entrusting me with this awesome responsibility. I promise you tireless effort, creative and bold decision-making, utmost integrity, and a competitive fire that burns intensely. We share the same goals. First, we will prepare our student-athletes, as graduates of our institution, to be leaders in our changing world. Second, we will build a prouder, stronger, and more passionate constituency of alumni, donors, and fans. And last, but certainly not least, WE WILL WIN.
Achieving these goals will not be easy. These last years have been challenging, leaving us with much work ahead. When faced with climbing the biggest mountains, I know only one approach to take: look not up, because the size of the task might be daunting, but instead look down and focus on placing one foot in front of the next, trusting that you will reach your destination by concentrating on each small step to get there. In that way - with steady, tough progress - we will reach the mountaintop. We will assume our position as a premier program in all of college athletics, a program befitting one of the world's great universities. We cannot stand idly by and watch our competitors race up the mountainside. We need action. We need a fully involved Illini Nation. A mass of people so overwhelming in size, passion, and influence that nothing will deter it from achieving its objectives. We need you - all of you, from the most avid to the most apathetic. The larger our coalition grows, the stronger our chances for success become.
To close, thank you again for your faith and confidence as my wife Hope and I transition to Champaign-Urbana. The outpouring of support that we have received these past hours has been incredibly humbling. Today, the climb begins. I am honored and privileged to make it with you, and I look forward to the journey. It will be the trip of a lifetime.
With tremendous appreciation and excitement,