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Reports: Lovie Smith will be next Illini coach

On the same day new Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman fired football coach Bill Cubit, reports surfaced saying former Bears coach Lovie Smith will take over the program.

Whitman fired Cubit on Saturday, the AD’s first official day on the job. Smith, who was fired as the Buccaneers coach after the season, last coached in college at Ohio State in 1995 as defensive backs coach. He has never been a college head coach, but he has made other stops at Tennessee, Kentucky, Arizona State, Wisconsin and Tulsa.

Cubit was given a two-year contract in November after serving as interim coach last season. He took over for Tim Beckman, who was fired before the season amid the fallout from allegations of player abuse. Former AD Mike Thomas also was fired.