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Illinois Football expected to hire former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith

According to reports, Smith is coming to Champaign.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

On Saturday morning, new Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman shocked Fighting Illini fans by firing head football coach Bill Cubit during his first official morning on the job. It was an usual move given the timing, but it quickly became apparent that Whitman already had someone lined up to fill the position.

According to multiple media reports, that man is Lovie Smith.

Smith, 57, was fired a few months ago by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after compiling a two-year record of 8-24 with the organization. Of course, Smith is most well known for his time with the Chicago Bears. From 2006-2012, the former head coach went 81-63 while leading the team to three NFC North titles and a Super Bowl appearance.

Smith's last job at the college level came 21 years ago, when he was defensive backs coach for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

We'll have more on the story as it develops.