New Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman was introduced today at a press conference by Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas after an extensive search lasting almost two weeks. Beckman, only 46 years old, brings with him a passion for coaching and for football that began when he was young.
"I've been around football and football coaches all my life," said Beckman. "I was born with a football. My dad coached high school ball and up to college ball and the pros, so I've had a chance to see it all."
He graduated from Findlay College in Findlay, Ohio, in 1988 and went on to serve as a graduate assistant at Auburn University from 1988-1989. From there he coached the secondary and served as recruiting coordinator at Western Carolina from 1990-1995.
Following a two-year stay at Elon, Beckman's next move brought him to Bowling Green, where he served as defensive coordinator and assistant head coach under Urban Meyer from 1998-2001. Beckman nearly left with Meyer to Utah in 2002, but a death in the family kept him closer to home, and he remained on the Bowling Green staff through 2004.
During his last four years at Bowling Green, the Falcons went 37-12 including two consecutive bowl wins. Three times he was a nominee for the Frank Broyles Award, which is given to the nation's top assistant coach in college football.
Beckman then moved up to Ohio State as the cornerbacks coach from 2005-2006. While at Ohio State, the Buckeyes were 22-3 including an appearance in the 2006 BCS Championship Game against Florida. He also coached 6 All-Big Ten defensive backs in only two years at Ohio State and contributed to a defense that led the nation in scoring defense.
From 2007-2008, Beckman served as the defensive coordinator for Oklahoma State. The Cowboys record during his tenure was 16-10, including a 9-4 finish in 2008 and a number 6 ranking in the BCS standings. Three of his four losses during the 2008 season came to #1 Texas, #2 Texas Tech and #3 Oklahoma.
Beckman's next coaching venture would lead him to the University of Toledo, where he was named head coach in 2009. Upon his arrival at Toledo, he met with his players on the first day, entering in a well-pressed suit and tie. He introduced himself, proceeded to take off his jacket and tie, and told his players "Alright, let's get to work."
Additionally in an unconventional move, Beckman moved in with his team in the dorms during the early part of his time at Toledo to build relationships and trust with his players.
Since then, Beckman has amassed a 21-16 record at Toledo, going 16-9 over the past two seasons, including 14-2 in conference play. This season, 3 of his 4 losses came via a 5 point loss at Ohio State that came down to the final minutes, a 33-30 overtime loss at Syracuse (remember the field goal that was reviewed, was clearly wide left, but still counted?), and a loss to a then top 5 ranked Boise State.
His commitment to excellence extends beyond the field with his emphasis on academics and character.
During his first year at Toledo, he raised the overall team grade point average from 2.370 to 2.922 and maintained it there throughout his stay. Also, he regularly involved his team in community outreach events.
Many of his players have gone on to successful careers, and most of them speak highly of their former coach. Former Toledo Quarterback Aaron Opelt had the following to say:
"Coach Beckman is a fiery coach who wants the best out of his players. He's coached in the biggest games. He's been everywhere and he's been with some great coaches. He's a great motivator who is always finding ways to keep us competing against each other.
"The players adapted to him pretty quickly. He spent a lot of time with the players and built a close relationship with us. I am really impressed with him."
Beckman's energy and competitive nature is a common theme among his players, including Dallas Cowboy's safety Barry Church.
"Coach Beckman brings a lot of energy on the field and off the field. He cares about academics, and he treats everyone with respect. It doesn't matter if you are a star or a walk-on, he treats you the same. That's very important to players. I'm very glad I had a chance to play for Coach Beckman."
Arizona Cardinals receiver Stephen Williams echoed many of the same sentiments regarding Coach Beckman, adding that he developed him as a person and as a player.
"Coach Beckman is very motivational, pushing his players and coaching staff to strive for greatness and never settling for anything less. He has a strong belief in education and giving back to the community.
"His competitive nature is what makes him great. He taught us a great lesson about life: be great in everything you do.
"Coach Beckman helped me a lot with becoming a complete receiver. Everybody knows I can catch the ball, but he brought out a toughness to my game with blocking and becoming a more physical wide out."
Beckman fosters a level of healthy competition among his players in practice and conditioning.
As part of his plan to increase competitiveness and team-building, Beckman breaks his squad up into eight "teams," making them compete in everything during the off-season-in the weight room, in the classroom, during drills, even during fun social activities. The first-place team is rewarded each week, while the eighth-place team has to run early-morning drills."
When he was hired at Toledo, Toledo Athletic Director Mike O'Brien praised Beckman for his dedication not only to results on the field, but to his players as individuals.
"Tim's that type of person," O'Brien said. "He has a commitment to making his players better people."
Beckman now becomes the 23rd head coach in Illinois football history and looks to instill intensity, passion, and a winning attitude into the program.
(quotes courtesy of www.utrockets.com)