Illinois dismisses head football coach Bill Cubit after one season

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Illinois interim head coach Bill Cubit.

CHAMPAIGN – After months of not knowing who was in charge of their athletic department, Illinois finally took care of that by hiring permanent athletic director Josh Whitman in February.

Just a few weeks in, he’s made his first move to show the new director of the department as a whole.

In a surprise move on Saturday morning Whitman announced that head football coach Bill Cubit was being dismissed after one season. This comes after the coach signed a two-year contract extension before the season finale against Northwestern.

“I appreciate the leadership that Bill Cubit provided our football program during what has been, unquestionably, a very tumultuous time,” Whitman said in a statement released by the University on Saturday.. “He accepted the challenge on an interim basis under incredibly difficult and unusual circumstances, and he has continued to work diligently for the betterment of our student-athletes. Through his efforts, he has kept the program moving forward. Bill is a good man and a good football coach. All of us in the Illini Nation owe him a debt of gratitude for his work leading our team these last months.

“At this juncture, however, I think it is most important that we position our program for long-term success by creating a more stable environment for the coaches, players, and prospective student-athletes.”

The dismissal ends a very unusual six months for Cubit, who took over for head coach Tim Beckman on an interim basis after he was fired following the release of an independent report on player treatment just one week before the season began.

Cubit was the offensive coordinator for the Illini and led the team to a 5-7 record during the 2015 season. Midway through the year Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas was let go and interim athletic director Paul Kowalczyk decided to give Cubit a two-year contract hours before the season finale against Northwestern on November 28th.