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Illinois football hires Bill Cubit as offensive coordinator

FILE - In this Sept. 1 2012 file phoWestern Michigan head coach Bill Cubit watches from sidelines during an NCAA

FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2012, file photo, Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit watches from the sidelines during an NCAA college football game against Illinois in Champaign, Ill. Illinois head coach Tim Beckman returned to his Mid-American Conference past on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, and hired Cubit as the new offensive coordinator. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

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Updated: February 16, 2013 6:21AM

Illinois football coach Tim Beckman named Bill Cubit offen-
sive coordinator Monday, confirming speculation that Cubit, who was fired after eight seasons as Western Michigan’s coach, would be coming to Champaign.

‘‘I’m very excited to have an experienced coach like Bill Cubit join the staff,’’ Beckman said in a statement. ‘‘He has always been known to have an outstanding football mind. Bill has had many extremely productive offensive teams during his career. He has called plays for many years and has developed several outstanding quarterbacks.’’

Cubit, 59, replaces co-coordinators Chris Beatty, who was fired, and Billy Gonzales, who will coach wide receivers.

‘‘I have a lot of respect for Tim and his teams,’’ said Cubit, who was 51-47 at Western Michigan. ‘‘I’m enthused about joining a great staff and being a part of the Illinois football tradition. I look forward to getting to work immediately and competing for a Big Ten championship.’’

In 2011, Western Michigan finished 18th in the nation in points per game (35.3) and 19th in total offense per game (458.5 yards).

The hiring of Cubit presumably will help Beckman clear up one of his public-relations snafus. Late this past season, eyebrows were raised when Beckman said Beatty called the plays on first and second downs before giving way to Gonzales on third down.

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