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Cubit gets 2-year deal to coach Illini

Interim coach Bill Cubit has agreed to a two-year extension to coach the Illini the next two seasons, school officials announced before Illinois met Northwestern at Soldier Field on Saturday.

“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” Interim Athletics Director Paul Kowalczyk said. “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 interim head coach on Aug. 28. Illinois (5-6) needed a victory Saturday to become bowl eligible. The extension will keep the length of his contract at two years and pay Cubit $1.2 million per year.

“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. 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.”

Cubit joined the Illinois staff as offensive coordinator in January 2013 before being named interim head coach in August. He has a career head coaching record of 90-70-1, including stints at Widener (34-18-1 from 1992-96) and Western Michigan (51-46 from 2005-12).