Illinois offensive coordinator Bill Cubit was promoted to the team's interim head coach on Friday after the firing of Tim Beckman. We're already familiar with what the play-calling mastermind brings to the table from an offensive perspective, but it's easy to forget that he actually has quite a bit of head coaching experience under his belt. From 2005-2012, Cubit was the head coach at Western Michigan and he led the Broncos to three bowl games.
But how did his teams do on a year-to-year basis? Well, here you go:
2005 Western Michigan: 7-4 (5-3), 3rd in MAC West
In his first year on the job, Bill Cubit was the architect of a drastic turnaround. Just one season prior, the Broncos went 1-10 (0-8) to finish dead last in the West division and only UCF (0-11) had a worse overall record in the conference. Cubit's first team saw a six game improvement, but they narrowly missed out on a bowl game.
Power-Five opponent(s): @ No. 23 Virginia Tech (L 19-31)
2006 Western Michigan: 8-5 (6-2), 2nd in MAC West
Western Michigan carried its newfound momentum into the 2006 season and the program reached its first bowl game since 1988. Unfortunately, the Broncos' run ended with a 27-24 loss at the hands of Cincinnati in the International Bowl (Toronto, ON).
Power-Five opponent(s): @ Indiana (L 20-39), @ Virginia (W 17-10), @ Florida State (L 20-28), Cincinnati (L 24-27)
2007 Western Michigan: 5-7 (3-4), 4th in MAC West
Western Michigan returned a combined 17 starters from their 2006 bowl team, but a tougher schedule resulted in a bit of a decline. The highlight of Cubit's third season was a 28-19 victory over Iowa.
Power-Five opponent(s): @ No. 3 West Virginia (L 24-62), Indiana (L 27-37), @ Missouri (L 24-52), @ Iowa (W 28-19)
2008 Western Michigan: 9-4 (6-2), T-2nd in MAC West
Illini fans will remember this Western Michigan squad. In Week 11, the two teams met on a neutral site at Ford Field in Detroit and the Broncos managed to defeat the Fighting Illini 23-17. It wasn't exactly Ron Zook's best moment as head coach.
The 2008 season ended up being the best of the Bill Cubit era. While going 9-3 (6-2) during the regular season, the Broncos received votes in both the AP Top-25 and the USA Today Coaches Poll in Week 13.
The program reached its second postseason game under Cubit, where they lost 38-14 against Rice in the Texas Bowl (Houston, TX).
Power-Five opponent(s): @ Nebraska (L 24-47), Illinois (W 23-17)
2009 Western Michigan: 5-7 (4-4), 3rd in MAC West
Again, Western Michigan experienced a decline after reaching a bowl game the year prior -- that became a trend while Cubit was the head coach. Nothing really too noteworthy from this season, but Western Michigan did drop all three games they played against Big Ten competition.
Power-Five opponent(s): @ Michigan (L 7-31), @ Indiana (L 19-23), @ Michigan State (L 14-49)
2010 Western Michigan: 6-6 (5-3), 3rd in MAC West
Cubit's sixth season saw the program return to the .500 mark. That unfortunately wasn't enough for a third bowl appearance, though. Along with Temple, the Broncos were one of two bowl-eligible teams that didn't receive a postseason bid in 2010.
Power-Five opponent(s): @ Michigan State (L 14-38), @ Notre Dame (L 20-44)
2011 Western Michigan: 7-6 (5-3), 3rd in MAC West
Hey, another bowl game! Western Michigan reached the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on the back of a 7-6 (5-3) record, where they lost a close game to Purdue. This would be the third and final bowl game of Cubit's tenure.
The 2011 season also featured another contest against a ranked Illinois team (pre-collapse). The Broncos gave the Orange & Blue a scare, but they couldn't repeat their 2008 performance
Power-Five opponent(s): @ Michigan (L 10-34), @ No. 24 Illinois (L 20-23), Purdue (L 32-37)
2012 Western Michigan: 4-8 (2-6), 5th in MAC West
The worst season of Cubit's tenure ended up being his last at Western Michigan. P.J. Fleck took over the reigns and, ironically enough, he's expected to be a serious candidate for the Illinois job in the near future.
Power-Five opponent(s): @ Illinois (L 7-24), @ Minnesota (L 23-28)
Overall, Cubit went 51-47 (36-27) during his time at Western Michigan and he led the program to five six-win seasons. The Broncos may have been a bit inconsistent under his watch, but overall it's a very solid resume.
If nothing else, Cubit's presence will bring some stability to the ongoing transition at Illinois. But perhaps he'll be able to catch lightning in a bottle and lead the Illini to a second consecutive bowl game amidst all this adversity. Only time will tell.
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