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BILL CUBIT ASCENDS TO HEAVEN

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A TRUE STORY THAT'S ONLY MILDLY SACRILEGIOUS

Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

BILL CUBIT, waking up with a start: Where am I? This isn't my house!

ST. PETER: Welcome to the hereafter, Bill.

BILL CUBIT: But that can't be! I'm not even retirement age, and my doctor told me I'm healthier than most men half my age!

ST. PETER: There, there, Bill. It's okay. If it's any consolation, you actually died late last summer.

BILL CUBIT: That's impossible! I was interim head coach for Illinois last season, and we finished surprisingly well when you consider the circumstances. A bowl game would have been nice, sure, but we worked hard for those five wins, and that's why the administration rewarded me with the full time gig.

ST. PETER: So, about that.

BILL CUBIT: NOW WAIT A SECOND WHY WOULD THEY FIRE ME IN THE MIDDLE OF SPRING PRACTICE. This has to be some sort of prank show, right? Where's the camera? I promise I won't get mad if you just show me where the camera is.

ST. PETER: It's all true, Bill. As I said, you were dead when you became head coach. But the good news is it only took you one season to move on from Illini football to your greater reward! I mean, we thought Ron Zook would never make it out.

RON ZOOK, riding a unicorn made of Drumstick ice cream cones and occasionally breaking one off to eat it, which does not bother the unicorn at all: Hi, Bill!

ST. PETER: But look at him now! Up here, he can call as many swing passes as he likes, and nobody ever screams "Hey, asshole, how about you try something down the field!" Here, Ron Zook is beloved and successful and never knows stress.

BILL CUBIT: I don't understand. If Illinois isn't a football program - what is it?

ST. PETER: Think of it as a rest stop for souls who aren't quite ready to make their final journey.

BILL CUBIT: You mean purgatory?

ST. PETER: Eh, we try not to call it that. Purgatory implies that there's an opportunity for most people to improve their afterlife status, when we're really taking about a very limited population.

GARY MOELLER, on waterskiis while being pulled by a boat made of clouds driven by a manatee named Leo: Great to see you, Bill! Let's have lunch at Excalibur later!

BILL CUBIT: Wait, didn't that happen after you left Illinois?

MOELLER, now waterskiing backwards without missing a beat: Yeah, but I got retroactive credit!

ST. PETER: You see, Bill? Heaven is open to all former Illinois coaches, for their suffering on Earth has gained them a special place in eternity.

BILL CUBIT: So Tim Beckman's here?

ST. PETER: Ok, so maybe not ALL all.

(A telephone apparates out of the ether, and St. Peter answers it.)

ST. PETER: Hello? Oh - oh, I see. Yes, that's terrible. I'll prepare things right away. (He hangs up.) It seems Illinois has found your successor.

BILL CUBIT: So Lovie Smith is dead? My goodness, he's younger than I am.

ST. PETER: Oh, Lovie will be fine. He had to mingle with Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, so death will seem like a spa trip comparatively. No, it's Ron Turner I'm worried about.

RON TURNER, nude but for a cape made of old Blockbuster Video membership cards: PETER THEY DIDN'T EVEN CALL MY AGENT

ST. PETER: Ron, we've talked about this. You don't have an agent because you're dead.

RON TURNER: WELL SO IS NORV AND HE TOLD ME THE RAMS WANT TO TAKE HIM OUT FOR LUNCH