Illinois re-upped Bill Cubit for two years following a 5-7 season. While that isn’t an impressive record, and is pretty standard for our football team (sadly), we could still go to a bowl game because there aren’t enough bowl eligible teams to fill the FORTY ONE contests that we have slated for this year. What a great reward – a bowl game that your university will absolutely lose $$$$ on, all for going 5-7! Well done!
Anyways, the Cubit re-upping is interesting in a couple dimensions. The Illinois athletic department doesn’t even have a permanent athletic director yet so it was probably one of those deals where the powers that be sat in a room and just shrugged their shoulders, sighed, and asked Cubit if he wanted it. There has been scandal after scandal at Illinois over the past decade or so and since the house is now being cleaned, it was probably a pretty good move to re-up Cubes.
I imagine that the base issue is one that I have pounded the table on for a long time here on these pages. That issue is that nobody wakes up one day and says to themselves “Man, I really want to be the head football coach at Illinois”.
Beckman was a guy who probably enjoyed being the coach at U of I, but we saw what happened there. Cubes must not mind living in Champaign. Being the head coach at a Big Ten skool probably looks good on your coaching resume in a certain sense.
The University isn’t behind the program, the boosters don’t care, and with all of our scandals and ridiculous people we have had associated with the football program it is just a “dead zone”. The job is either a stepping stone for someone on the way up, or a place holder for a coach who is just playing out his last few years, working for a few more paychecks.
In addition, we got Cubes for only $1.2mm/year, cheapest in the Big Ten. It was a good fit for him as well, as he has helped recruit a lot of the kids in the program and does offer some continuity. I expect nothing less then some more mediocre seasons but that is what Illinois football is all about, isn’t it? A Tradition of Mediocrity. But this isn’t really Cubit’s fault. The athletic department has things that, if we were serious about fixing them, would take up to 5 years to fix.
The Cubit signing has more to do with the higher ups at Illinois knowing that Cubit doesn’t have baggage and will probably run a relatively clean program while they attempt to get the athletic department reeled in, and somehow fixed up a bit. It is years of work ahead of them, and the two year deal makes it easy for them to can Cubit and start over if he can’t keep us at least mediocre.
On the plus side, from what I have seen so far this year, Cubit seems to have decent game plans and doesn’t make insane errors on the sideline that hurt his team like Beckman did. But all the good gameplans in the world won’t help you when you don’t have the talent to make them work. Cubes has a lot of work ahead of him and so does the athletic department.