Nathan Scheelhaase is expected to be promoted to Illinois’ running backs coach, according to a source.
Scheelhaase, 24, was hired in May in his current role as the Fighting Illini’s assistant director of football operations. He would fill the assistant position that came open Thursday when coach Tim Beckman was abruptly fired and replaced on an interim basis by offensive coordinator Bill Cubit, whose positional emphasis had been running backs.
Along with Scheelhaase’s promotion, Cubit’s son, Ryan Cubit, Illinois’ quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator, is expected to be even more involved in the Fighting Illini’s offensive play-calling, according to the source. The younger Cubit was promoted to his current position in April after previously being the program’s director of player development.
Scheelhaase was Illinois’ starting quarterback from 2010–13, his last of which was under Cubit. He is the school’s leader in career total offense (10,634 yards) and ranks seventh all-time in that category in the Big Ten.
Scheelhaase is also the only signal-caller in school history to lead the program to bowl victories in consecutive years and just one of two players in Big Ten history with over 8,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his career. After leaving Illinois, he was a high school pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville.
Beckman’s firing came a week before he was to start his fourth season with the Fighting Illini. He was terminated with cause by athletic director Mike Thomas, who cited preliminary results of an external review into allegations that injured players faced pressure to play under Beckman.
Illinois opens the season Friday vs. Kent State. Prior to Cubit’s arrival in Champaign, he was head coach for eight seasons at Western Michigan, where he had a 51–47 record with three bowl appearances, one more than the school had ever had.