CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois coach Tim Beckman returned to his Mid-American Conference past on Monday and hired Bill Cubit as the new offensive coordinator for the Illini.

Cubit was fired last year as coach at Western Michigan after a 4-8 season. He replaces Chris Beatty and Bill Gonzales, who were co-coordinators last season and whose offense was last in the Big Ten in both points per game (16.7) and total offense (296.7 yards a game).

Beatty was fired earlier this month while Gonzales will stay at Illinois as wide receivers coach.

Cubit said he was looking forward to working for Beckman, a former coach at MAC member Toledo.

``I have a lot of respect for him and his teams,'' Cubit said. ``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.''

Beckman praised the 59-year-old Cubit's work as an offensive coach.

``He has had many extremely productive offensive teams during his career,'' Beckman said. ``Bill has called plays for many years as an offensive coordinator and as a head coach, and has developed several outstanding quarterbacks.''

Beckman is looking for big improvement on both sides of the ball after a 2-10 season, including nine losses in a row after a 2-1 start. One of those two wins was over Western Michigan.

So far the only announced changes have been on the offensive side of the ball.

Even in a down season the Western Michigan offense under Cubit was solid. The Broncos averaged 29.3 points a game, (sixth in the MAC), and were fourth in the conference in total yards at 434.2. They averaged 289.8 yards passing (third in the MAC) and 149.5 yards rushing (10th).


Cubit was 51-47 in eight seasons at Western Michigan, including three bowl appearances. He was 1-1 against Illinois, knocking off Ron Zook's Illini in 2008.

Before becoming head coach at Western Michigan, Cubit was offensive coordinator at Stanford, Rutgers and Missouri. He also has been head coach at Division III Widener University in Pennsylvania and an assistant coach at several other schools. Cubit was a quarterback and receiver at Delaware in the early 1970s.


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