Missouri's A.J. Ricker expected to become Illinois offensive line coach

Missouri offensive line coach A.J. Ricker is expected to accept the same position at Illinois, reuniting him with Fighting Illini head coach Bill Cubit.
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Missouri offensive line coach A.J. Ricker is expected to accept the same position at Illinois, according to a source.

It's a return to Illinois for Ricker and it reunites him with Fighting Illini coach Bill Cubit. Ricker got his start in coaching a decade ago as a graduate assistant under Cubit, then Western Michigan’s coach.

This past season was Ricker’s second at Missouri, his alma mater. He had been Illinois’ offensive line coach in 2013, arriving two months after Cubit was hired as the Fighting Illini’s offensive coordinator.

Ricker was also Cubit’s offensive line coach and run game coordinator at Western Michigan from 2011–12. Ricker was the coach of St. Joseph’s College in Indiana in 2010 after a season as the program’s offensive line coach.

That was after Ricker was also Cubit’s offensive line coach at Western Michigan in 2009 following his two seasons as a graduate assistant. A Windsor, Mo., native, Ricker played center at Missouri from 2000–03.

He signed a contract with the NFL’s Chicago Bears in 2005 and played that season in NFL Europe. He played in the Arena Football League from 2006–07.

Cubit led the Fighting Illini to a better-than-expected 5–7 record this season in an interim capacity after being promoted from offensive coordinator in late August. His interim tag was removed last month.

Cubit arrived in Champaign in 2013 as offensive coordinator. Before that, he was head coach for eight seasons at Western Michigan.

There, he had a 51–47 record with three bowl appearances, one more than the school had ever had.