Paul Williams expected to stay as Illini DBs coach

Defensive backs coach hired by Bill Cubit in January expected to stay on Lovie Smith's Illini staff

Illinois defensive backs coach Paul Williams is expected to be retained by Lovie Smith, multiple sources close to the Illinois football program told

Williams was one of four assistants hired in January by former Illini coach Bill Cubit. The other three -- Jeff HecklinskiA.J. Ricker and Tim McGarigle -- were all dismissed by Smith last week.

Williams spent the last 10 seasons under Al Golden, the last five at Miami and the first five at Temple. He served on Cubit's Western Michigan staff in 2005 and 2006 and from 1999-2004 coached at Delaware, where both he and Cubit played college football.

If officially hired, Williams would be one of two Cubit assistants kept as coaches. Former defensive coordinator Mike Phair, who served on Smith's staff for the Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is expected to stay on as defensive line coach.

Running backs coach Nathan Scheelhaase -- who was promoted in August from assistant director of football operations to fill a vacancy left by head coach Tim Beckman's dismissal -- is under consideration to stay on in a support staff role, according to sources.

Smith officially announced two of his nine assistants last week. Former Louisville offensive coordinator Garrick McPhee will fill the same role at Illinois, and Luke Butkus re-joined the Illini staff as offensive line coach, the same role he served on Beckman's first staff in 2012 before serving three seasons as assistant line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Five-time Pro Bowl linebacker Hardy Nickerson is expected to be named the Illini defensive coordinator after spending the last two seasons as Smith's linebackers coach in Tampa. Andrew Hayes-Stoker, who served the last two seasons as wide receivers coach in Tampa, reportedly will join Illinois in the same role.

Smith is expected to make his hires official this week.

Lovie Smith's reported staff

Head coach: Lovie Smith

Offensive coordinator/QBs coach: Garrick McGee (official)

Defensive coordinator: Hardy Nickerson (reported)

WRs coach: Andrew Hayes-Stoker (reported)

OL coach: Luke Butkus (official)

DL coach: Mike Phair (reported)

DBs coach: Paul Williams (reported)

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