New Assistant Golesh Attacking Recruiting

New Fighting Illini football coach Tim Beckman has now announced three members of his assistant coaching staff. Alex Golesh was the tight end coach and recruiting coordinator last year at Toledo, and he joins Beckman at Illinois. He is unsure what position he will coach, but he will be the recruiting coordinator. He talks about recruiting plans in this interview.

Alex Golesh is pleased to be joining friend Tim Beckman at Illinois. His first impression of the school and football program sounds like a recruiting pitch.

"I'm extremely excited. I got a chance to get down here this last weekend and take a look at it. As soon as we walked on campus, I was sold.

"This is definitely a program with a proud tradition, four national championships. I'm so excited to be back in the Big 10 and have a chance to be a part of an incredible staff Coach Beckman's putting together and have a chance to recruit great student-athletes.

"Obviously, academically this is a top-notch program. And being able to bring student-athletes in here and compete for Big 10 championships every year, that's our goal. I think it's a realistic goal. I think we'll be able to make that happen here. And if I didn't, I probably wouldn't be here. I know Coach Beckman feels the same way.

"This is a special place with a ton of tradition. This town is a great place to love, a great place that supports this program, and obviously there's a lot of talent here already."

Golesh has coached multiple positions in the past. His role as a position coach is not yet defined.

"That's still kind of up in the air. With Coach Beck, I've coached the outside linebackers. I've worked in the back end on defense. At Toledo, I worked with the running backs my first year and tight ends my last two years."

Will he be in charge of the specialists on the team?

"I believe so. That's something Coach Beck hasn't determined yet, but it's something we've talked about.

"I've coached a little bit of everything. Coach Beck trusts me, and that's part of the reason why I'm here, part of the reason I was at Toledo, part of the reason I was at Oklahoma State. We've got a great relationship; he believes in me as a coach and recruiter. And our families are really close."

He does know he will be the recruiting coordinator at Illinois. He realizes the importance of the Chicago area in recruiting; he has some background there.

"I am familiar with the Chicagoland area. At Toledo, we recruited a lot by position, so there are a few guys here I recruited. The Chicagoland area for Toledo was huge. We had some success getting some guys out of the area. As we come here now, the Chicagoland area is a huge priority for us.

"Matt LaCosse was one as a tight end. We were Reilly O'Toole's first offer. I thought we had a chance for a minute. Those guys stand out to me, but I know there's more."

Golesh shares areas of the country where he has recruiting connections.

"My background is a lot in Ohio, a lot in New York, Virginia, northern Florida. Being at Oklahoma State, northern Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth area. Those are gonna be huge for us. Kansas will be big."

But first and foremost, Beckman and his staff will seek top players in Illinois and other surrounding areas.

"For us, it's a 6 hour radius. (Beckman) is gonna call it 'Illini Nation' and recruit the 6 hours around here. Chicago being the #1 priority, along with the rest of this state. If there's guys around this area that can play here, we'll take those guys. We want local talent here. If they're gonna wear Illinois across their helmet, we want their families here, we want that support here.

"We're obviously gonna recruit the surrounding states. Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana's gonna be big, Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri. The St. Louis area is phenomenal. And then we're gonna fill holes from there, depending on the experiences and recruiting background of the staff."

It will be interesting to see who else will join the staff and the areas they have recruited. Perhaps Golesh provides a hint with the distant locales the Illini plan to cultivate.

"Obviously Florida is a hotbed for football. Illinois has done a good job recruiting talent out of Florida. They've also done a good job recruiting Illinois, Ohio, Indianapolis and the region.

,P>"So make sure we've got the 6 hour area covered with a fine-tooth comb. If we can get a young man out of Illini Nation, that's what we'll do. And then if we can't, we'll go elsewhere we have ties. I think we've got to do a good job in Florida. We've got to do a good job in Texas, Kansas, along the East Coast if we can't fill it with the guys in this state.

"We will be going after the best players, first in Illinois then nationally, that we can fulfill our needs with. There's no panic. As coaches get done with bowl games and get here, they'll have guys that they've been recruiting, and we have guys that we've been recruiting. It's just a matter of getting a hold of those guys and getting them on campus."

From Golesh's remarks, it is obvious the Tim Beckman staff will recruit aggressively. But just like the last staff, the key to successful recruiting is the campus itself and the players who will be their future teammates.

"It's a people business. Once we get those guys on campus and sell the people here, from the community to the administration to the staff to our families, and making sure those guys fit into what we're doing and not just we fit what they want, I think this first class is gonna fill our needs.

"Making sure we evaluate the ones who are committed and making sure we take the right people. This is gonna be the first class with a Tim Beckman stamp on it. I don't think it's a priority where we rank, it's where we rank in four years with how many Big 10 championships we have. That's most important."

Illinois ranks low in the Big 10 right now in terms of the known commitments, but Golesh feels the Illini will make up for lost time once the whole staff is in place. As to the number of scholarships available, that is uncertain.

"We haven't really talked about it. As I've looked at it, somewhere up to 20, maybe 23. Coach Beck addressed the guys leaving to go to the NFL. Hopefully we're not having to replace those guys. That'll be a big factor. The 13-14 seniors will need to be replaced. There's positions where there's huge needs."

Golesh has hit the ground running. How well the Illini do with recruiting this year depends heavily on how quickly and effectively Beckman, Golesh and the rest of the staff can sell top-level prospects on their vision for the future of Illini football.

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