Smile Politely

Thomas fails to get free contract buyout with purchase of four at regular price

University of Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas hurriedly searched for another head coach to fire on Saturday, hoping to redeem his Contract Buyout Loyalty punch card before it expired today. After buying out the contracts of head football coach Ron Zook, head women’s basketball coach Jolette Law, and head men’s basketball coach Bruce Weber, Thomas needed to fire only one more coach with a long-term contract in order to earn a free contract buyout (as well as a free side order at Long John Silver’s) under the terms of the punchcard.

Unfortunately, despite convening an emergency meeting of the board of trustees on Saturday evening, he was unable to secure funds to buy out the contract of head men’s baseball coach Dan Hartleb. Thomas was even reported to have considered firing head volleyball coach Kevin Hambly — who led the Illini to the NCAA championship finals last fall — just to get the free buyout. However, a clerical error led to the firing of men’s golf coach Mike Small, who is on a one-year contract and therefore did not receive a buyout. Thomas stated, “It seems like such a waste to buy out so many contracts and then not get the freebie, but hey, there’s always next year.”

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