Illinois' Banks out as co-defensive coordinator

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) Illinois coach Bill Cubit on Friday confirmed a sweeping series of changes to his staff, including the departure of co-defensive coordinator Tim Banks.

Cubit said co-defensive coordinator Mike Phair will run the unit himself next season.

Cubit also said his son, Ryan Cubit, has been promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. Bill Cubit had been the coordinator before becoming interim head coach when Tim Beckman was fired in August.

''Ryan was basically the offensive coordinator this past season as we worked very closely on the offensive game plan during the week,'' said Bill Cubit, whose team finished 5-7 in his first season as coach. ''Mike brought a high level of energy and expertise to this staff and I was very impressed while watching him operate.''

Cubit said he wanted Banks to come back and remain a co-coordinator, but with more ''input'' from Phair.

''I tried to mesh it a little and (Banks) wasn't comfortable,'' Cubit said.

The defenses in Banks' first three seasons at Illinois were among the worst in the Big Ten, but Illinois improved this year. Phair joined the staff for the 2015 season. Cubit did not say where Banks was going after four years with the Illini.

Illinois also confirmed it has added two new assistants.

Former Illini quarterback Jeff Hecklinski was named tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, replacing Alex Golesh, who left for a job at Iowa State. Hecklinski was an assistant at Colorado State-Pueblo this year after spending four seasons at Michigan.

Former Illinois offensive line coach A.J. Ricker returns to that job after two years at Missouri. He replaces Tom Brattan, who was fired after two seasons.

Nathan Scheelhaase will be the running backs coach on a permanent basis after handling the job this season as an interim assistant following Beckman's exit.

Beckman was fired a week before the season opener after an investigation by a law firm hired by the school found he interfered in medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt. He has denied wrongdoing.

Cubit became the permanent head coach in November, but was given only a two-year contract while the school searches for a new athletic director and chancellor. Most new head coaches get longer deals considered important to demonstrate stability for recruiting, and Cubit said he expects other teams to use that against him in recruiting.

But coaches are regularly fired or leave early before those longer deals run their course, he said.

''You're kidding yourself - you don't get five years any more in the college game,'' he said. ''We're all on hot seats.''

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