Lovieing Illini Football Again

I woke up very late Saturday morning. I hadn’t gotten much sleep all week so I let myself sleep in. As I was glancing through my social media stuff I found some vague reference to the Illini firing the head football coach. The fired coach, Cubit, was in a strange and unenviable position. Just before the start of last collegiate football season, the then football coach, Tim Beckman, was fired for allegedly abusing players. Cubit was then named the interim coach. Half way through the football season the athletic director got fired.  They then took the rather unusual step of naming the interim head coach as the permanent one, but only gave him a 2 year contract. I have never heard of a college head coach contract that short.   The acting athletic director at the time described the situation as “not ideal”. People mostly ridiculed the decision. It was assumed that once a permanent AD got hired, they would fire the not-interim coach after one season.

The new “permanent” (is really anything permanent at the UofI) was announced a couple of weeks ago. The first day on the job, only hours into it, he walked into Cubit’s office and fired him. I was stunned by the news. You don’t fire coaches in March. There are no available candidates and all the good assistant/position coaches have been hired. To top it off they bungled the announcement of the firing with players and staff learning about it from social media. Let’s just say I was not impressed.  I tweeted something about the AD being a bumbling idiot.

Slowly through the night the rumors started to pick up.The new head coach was already picked out and it was Lovie Smith. For those who don’t know, Lovie Smith is the former head coach of the Chicago Bears. He took them to a Superbowl. He is highly regarded in the football world.  This would be the highest profile hiring in my time as an Illini fan. It would be a PR home run and instantly increase the credibility of Illini sports.

Sunday morning, the AD flies off on a chartered flight to Tampa Bay where Lovie currently lives.  The supposed meeting only takes like thirty minutes.  The plan comes back to Champaign and people are sad when Lovie isn’t on it.  More rumors begin to fly. The deal has collapsed.  Illinois is a total failure. If this thing blew up it would be the most Illinois thing ever.

After I had finished all that I had planned for I headed out for a night cap and an establishment known for sports and wings. There weren’t a whole lot of people present as I paid my bill.  I look over and there is a small entourage and in it is Lovie Smith. I started pointing at him. He turned and looked at me so I changed my pointing into an awkward wave. Stupidly I didn’t tweet it or take a picture.  When I got back home I did pop on a Illini fan forum to post the news but somebody already had.

Links for more accurate and in depth information:

Illinois fires Tim Beckman, allegedly for mistreatment of injured players
Illinois fires AD Mike Thomas amid damning report on football program
Illinois football: Bill Cubit agrees to 2-year contract
Illinois fires coach Bill Cubit less than four months after hiring him
Reports: Lovie Smith expected to be named next Illinois coach

Random Jobu Moment of the Week

Very early one morning, about three am, I am dreaming.  In my dream there is something getting in my face, like a stick or something.  I then wake up and the cat is licking my face trying to get me up.

I liked this video.