On Josh Whitman’s first official day as Illinois athletic director, he was already putting out fires. Of course he had to address his first order of business as AD, his firing of head football coach Bill Cubit, and moreover why the media knew before players did.
Whitman explained the odd timing of events saying after a 20-minute meeting in Cubit’s office, the university was already getting calls from the media. With the media already speculating, the athletic department elected to send out the release before rounding up the players.
According to Whitman, he met with the players right after the release was sent out. He acknowledged their feelings, along with the recruits that Cubit brought on board since he signed a two-year contract extension in November.
As for the motivation behind the firing, Whitman said it came down to Cubit’s contract situation. He argued that a two-year commitment was not enough to attract and keep coaches and recruits was not sufficient.
He said that the program planned on “doing right” by the assistant coaches. Offensive coordinator Ryan Cubit, Bill’s son, was also fired. The rest, Whitman said, will have an opportunity to interview for a job with the new head coach, former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith.