The Illini finished 5-7, 2-6 in the Big Ten last season under Cubit, whose son Ryan was also fired as offensive coordinator. "He accepted the challenge on an interim basis under incredibly hard and unusual circumstances, and he has continued to work diligently for the betterment of our student-athletes. 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".

Whitman said he appreciated Cubit's work as interim coach last season after the firing of Tim Beckman, but made clear that he didn't believe the veteran Cubit was the best option to build the team. A week before the start of the 2015 season, the school fired then-head coach Tim Beckman in the middle of a scandal.

Lovie Smith has been identified as a strong contender to replace Bill Cubit at IL.

Cubit was given an unusually short two-year contract when he received the permanent job, which administrators said was a result of the school not having a permanent AD at the time.

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It's still not concrete, via the University, but you can tell from the tone of Athletic Director Josh Whitman in his afternoon press conference that he had a plan in place before the weekend began. "There's a lot of shock going on".

Cubit said some players told him a team meeting was planned for later in the day. He will be paid approximately $361,000 for the remainder of his contract. The rest of the coaches will have the opportunity to interview with the new head coach.

In a press release, Whitman spring football practice - which had been scheduled to start next Friday - will be delayed until a new head coach is in place. Beckman's dismissal was due to an investigation launched by the university relating to injury reporting and student-athlete medical treatment.