- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

URBANA, Ill. (AP) - The interim chancellor of the University of Illinois’ flagship campus says the decision to give interim football coach Bill Cubit a two-year deal was based on the program’s need for stability.

The school announced Saturday that Cubit had agreed to the contract. He had been promoted to interim coach right before this season, after coach Tim Beckman was fired.

Urbana-Champaign campus interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson told The (Champaign) News-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1lsPrnT ) on Monday that Cubit has provided stability for the team, and will help with “near-term recruitment.”

“We are impressed with what he’s accomplished in a tough situation,” Wilson said. “He’s really risen to the occasion,”

Wilson said she didn’t consider bringing in a new coach, saying a permanent athletic director “makes decisions about coaches.” Offering Cubit the contract wasn’t “any one person’s call,” she said.



Beckman was fired after a preliminary investigative report found he interfered in medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt. Athletic Director Mike Thomas was fired in November when the full report came out, though he was personally cleared.

Wilson became the campus’s interim chancellor after Phyllis Wise resigned from the position in August following a series of problems on campus, including her use of private email to discuss university business.

Wilson said she hopes to announce an athletic director search committee by the end of the week. University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen said he would like for Thomas’ successor to be picked in time for it to go before trustees next month.

Killeen said Monday that he was “very happy” with the decision to offer Cubit a contract. He said it was thought through by Wilson and interim Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk, and said they shared the recommendation with him. Wilson and Kowalczyk also “discussed it extensively with knowledgeable people,” Killeen said.

“I’m very much looking forward to next season and the recruitment that coach Cubit will be able to undertake next year,” Killeen said. “This is a time of rebuilding, and we’ve got great leaders in place.”

The decision was “well thought-out,” Killeen said, though he understands fans will have “a lot of different opinions.” He said the football team’s 5-7 record this year isn’t “anything to be fundamentally ashamed of.”

“Of course, we want to win the Big Ten,” Killeen said.

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Information from: The News-Gazette, https://www.news-gazette.com

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