Illinois gives interim head coach Bill Cubit 2-year contract

Illinois is giving interim football coach Bill Cubit the full-time job, awarding him with a two-year contract on Saturday.

Cubit was elevated to interim coach when the Illini fired Tim Beckman a week before the 2015 season opener. Illinois is 5-6 on the season and will play Northwestern on Saturday afternoon in Chicago for a shot at a bowl game.

"Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August," Illinois interim athletic director Paul Kowalczyk said in a news release. "Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach."

Illinois will pay Cubit $1.2 million for both of the next two seasons.

Beckman was fired after allegations surfaced that he put player safety at risk, and an external investigation into Beckman's actions found several instances of troubling behavior involving player injuries. Cubit, who was Beckman's offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, escaped blame in the school's report.

Cubit has a career head coaching record of 90-70-1 with previous stints at at Widener and Western Michigan.