U of Illinois president: New AD by end of January realistic

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen says he has not given up on having a new athletic director at the flagship campus by next week’s Board of Trustees meeting, but he’s not optimistic that can be done. Killeen said in an interview Wednesday that having a new athletic director for the Urbana-Champaign campus by the end of January is “perhaps a more realistic date.” Administrators had said they planned to have a replacement for Mike Thomas by the Jan. 21, trustees’ meeting. Thomas was fired in November following complaints by athletes over treatment by coaches in football and women’s basketball. Football coach Tim Beckman was fired in August. Interim Urbana-Champaign Chancellor Barbara Wilson said Thomas did nothing wrong, but said the schools’ sports programs needed a new direction.