Northwestern extends Jim Phillips

Updated: August 3, 2011, 12:23 PM ET
By Scott Powers | ESPNChicago.com

Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips has agreed to a new 10-year contract that will keep him at the university until 2020, the school announced on Wednesday.

"Jim Phillips is one of the most talented, energetic and hard-working persons I have ever met," Northwestern president Morton Schapiro said in a statement. "I predict that, under his leadership, we will achieve even greater athletic success while always remaining true to the academic values that define Northwestern."

Phillips was hired by Northwestern in 2008 after being Northern Illinois' athletic director. In his short time in Evanston, Phillips has signed football coach Pat Fitzgerald to a contract extension that will take him through the 2020 season, set up a football game with rival Illinois at Wrigley Field, hired Mike Polisky to oversee the athletic program's marketing and tickets sales and is currently overhauling the athletic program's facilities.

"I am incredibly humbled and deeply appreciative of President Schapiro, Chairman [William] Osborn, Mr. [Patrick] Ryan and our entire board of trustees for the trust, faith and confidence they have shown in me with this new contract," Phillips said in a statement. "This is an exciting time for Northwestern athletics; we are having unprecedented success on the field and in the classroom. Very sincerely, I am honored to be able to continue working to provide a world-class experience for all of our student-athletes."

During negotiations of Phillips' new contract, Illinois was rumored to be interested in Phillips to fill its athletic director vacancy.

Scott Powers covers high school and college sports for ESPNChicago.com and can be reached at spowers@espnchicago.com.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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