Illini football gives Bill Cubit two more years as head coach

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Illini football gives Bill Cubit two more years as head coach

Head coach Bill Cubit and the Illinois sideline celebrate after Taylor Zalewski makes the PAT that put Illinois up 14-13 over Nebraska to win the game.

Head coach Bill Cubit and the Illinois sideline celebrate after Taylor Zalewski makes the PAT that put Illinois up 14-13 over Nebraska to win the game.

Head coach Bill Cubit and the Illinois sideline celebrate after Taylor Zalewski makes the PAT that put Illinois up 14-13 over Nebraska to win the game.

Head coach Bill Cubit and the Illinois sideline celebrate after Taylor Zalewski makes the PAT that put Illinois up 14-13 over Nebraska to win the game.

By Peter Bailey-Wells, Sports editor

There’s one fewer interim title at the University of Illinois.

The University announced Saturday via press release that it has agreed on a two-year contract with Bill Cubit to continue to serve as the University’s head football coach.

Under Cubit, Illinois is 5-6 so far this season and set to face Northwestern at Soldier Field in Chicago on Saturday afternoon. If the Illini win, they are bowl eligible for the second year in a row.

“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” Interim Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk said in the press release. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”

Cubit was named the interim head coach on Aug. 28 following the dismissal of Tim Beckman. He was previously the team’s offensive coordinator and was the head coach at Western Michigan from 2005-2012.

Cubit will be paid $1.2 million per year for the next two years. The move comes as the University is searching for an athletic director to replace Mike Thomas, who was dismissed following the release of the final Franczek Radelet report on allegations of abuse of football players under Beckman.

“This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed,” Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson said in the press release.

Cubit has made several public comments in the last month indicating he wanted the job full-time. His players had also advocated that he be given a permanent promotion.

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