I've thought about this a little more and have a better list of who I think Whitman will target. Unique thing about Illinois AD Josh Whitman is he doesn't use search firms at all. He absolutely loathes them and thinks you job as an AD is to hire coaches, not farm them out to some 3rd party consulting firm filled with agents and ex-coaches.
Names in order of most likely to be targeted:
3.) Terry Brands: This really fits the bill of what Josh is looking for. He wants to make a splash and get the entire wrestling community talking about Illinois Wrestling. Would Terry leave? I doubt it, but how many big time Big Ten jobs open in neighboring states. He won a title at Iowa, Nelson could benefit from dropping to 174lb and Terry is approaching the age where he likely never gets an opportunity again to run his own shop.
2.) Doug Schwab: Head coaching experience, Olympian, recruiting ties in the Midwest, high-energy and can go toe-to-toe with Big Ten coaches. Illinois could likely give him a big raise, but would he leave his home state, especially with a young family? Money talks in these situations and I couldn't find his current salary but I am estimating it's around $130k per year. Illinois could easily go to $215k or more if they needed. Would he turn down a $100,000 raise and a chance to be one of 14 Big Ten Coaches?
1.) J Jaggers: Big time recruiter, knows the Big Ten, would be a big time name. This one seems the most likely to me if I had to place a bet. Something doesn't seem right at Ohio St. and it would probably be good for all parties if Tom Ryan was able to shake-up his staff. Tervel is already leaving and I wonder if Bo doesn't try something new. Jaggers brings instant credibility on the recruiting trail and saw firsthand how Tom Ryan built a behemoth.
Additionally, Jaggers seems like someone who can raise money, which will be an even bigger deal after COVID. Terry & Doug are not schmoozers and I can't see them interacting well with wealthy Chicago donors. The whole intense Iowa style and bragging about Casey's Mexican pizza won't impress them.
Who I don't expect to get the job:
1.) Mark Perry: From what I understand, Perry did a hell of a job recruiting nationally, but alienated a lot of coaches in Illinois. When Perry left, Hef targeted Poeta as a way to repair those relationships, but Illinois is still struggling to get the top kids to remain in-state.
2.) Big time assistants with zero ties: Donny Pritzlaff, Zach Esposito, Brian Snyder, etc. If Whitman is going to make an exception and hire a coach with no head coaching experience, then he at least will target someone who knows Illinois and the challenges of recruiting here.
3.) Imar: Too young, no HC experience and still a senior athlete.