New Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman had barely sat down in his chair before making his first major move at the school.
On Saturday morning, in Whitman's first official day as athletic director, Illinois announced that it had dismissed coach Bill Cubit.
"I appreciate the leadership that Bill Cubit provided our football program during what has been, unquestionably, a very tumultuous time," Whitman said. "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."
This is a rather surprising move.
Cubit took over as interim coach for Tim Beckman just a few weeks before the 2015 season began, and after the Illini went 5-7 he was named head coach and given a two-year contract in late November. Now, less than four months later, after other schools have hired all their new coaches, Illinois has decided it needs to go in a new direction.
Illinois also announced that offensive coordinator Ryan Cubit, who is the son of Bill Cubit, has also been dismissed. The rest of the coaching staff will have a chance to interview with the new head coach.
As for whom the new coach will be, it will be interesting to see who Illinois can bring in to replace Cubit at this time of year. You'd like to think the school wouldn't make such a move at this time without a replacement lined up, but Whitman said he'll announce the replacement "as soon as possible."