By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
MACOMB, Ill. -- Western Illinois University has narrowed its candidate pool for the head football coaching position to three finalists.
All three expected to interview on the WIU campus within the next week.
The three finalists are Missouri S&T coach David Brown, who will be the first to interview Thursday; Minnesota Duluth coach Bob Nielson, who will be on campus Monday; and former Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit, who is expected to be in Macomb on Tuesday.
A decision on a head coach is expected shortly after interviews are completed. WIU athletic director Tim Van Alstine projected a hire would be made by Dec. 19.
"All three candidates have extensive coaching experience at various levels, all with success," Van Alstine said in a press release. "We want to bring in the right individual to make Leatherneck football an annual contender in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Our goal is to have someone hired very soon so they can hit the ground running with putting together their coaching staff and to get on the road recruiting.
"We received a great deal of interest in our opening. I would like to commend the work of our search committee to narrow the field down to these three candidates."
Brown recently completed his third season at Missouri S&T and has completely turned a moribund program around. After a 3-8 season in 2010, Brown helped the Miners to a 6-5 record in 2011 and was named the Great Lakes Valley Conference Co-Coach of the Year.
This fall, the Miners went 10-1 and finished second in the GLVC.
Nielson recently completed his 10th season at Minnesota Duluth with a 10-2 record and sixth NCAA Division II playoff appearance. During Nielson's tenure, Minnesota Duluth has gone 100-26 with two national championships.
Overall, Nielson has a coaching record of 170-59-1 in 20 seasons.
Cubit was fired from Western Michigan in early November following a 4-8 season, which was the Broncos' worst season since a 1-10 mark in 2004. Cubit finished his tenure at Western Michigan with an overall record of 51-47. The Broncos were 36-27 in the Mid-American Conference.
Western Michigan made three bowl appearances in his tenure, playing in the International Bowl in 2006, the Texas Bowl in 2008 and the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in 2011.