CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman will no longer serve as a volunteer assistant for defense at North Carolina, the school announced Thursday evening.
Beckman, who was fired at Illinois last August after a university-commissioned investigation found that he had mistreated players, joined Larry Fedora’s staff prior to the start of training camp. Beckman and Fedora previously worked together as coordinators under Mike Gundy at Oklahoma State in 2007.
“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country,” Beckman said in a prepared statement. “His willingness to help a friend was a benefit both personally and professionally. I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”
“Tim will no longer serve as a volunteer with our program,” Fedora said in a school release. “I brought Tim here to help a friend gain experience from our staff, but after meeting with him today, we agreed his presence had become too much of a distraction.”
Fedora encountered a media backlash when the news surfaced this week that Beckman, who was accused of pressuring medical staff to downplay injuries and mocking injured players, had joined the staff in a volunteer role designed for scouting and film study.
"We made the decision today to part ways with Tim Beckman and thank him for his contributions in the short time he volunteered with our football program,” UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said in a statement. “Coach Fedora's interest was in helping a coaching colleague get back on his feet. We will learn from this and continue preparing for the season.”
Fedora confirmed on Wednesday that Cunningham had approved bringing Beckman into the program and also defended his old friend by implying the investigative report might not be accurate and telling reporters he was fired for not winning enough games. Beckman went 12-25 (4-20 Big Ten) in three years at Illinois.
“When I first learned yesterday that Coach Larry Fedora had invited former Illinois head coach Tim Beckman to serve as a volunteer with the football program, I was surprised and disappointed,” UNC Chancellor Carol L. Folt said in a school release. “The decision for Mr. Beckman to withdraw from his volunteer position was the right thing to do, and moving forward I don’t expect this situation to recur. I continue to put a great deal of trust in Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and Coach Fedora to educate and develop our student-athletes and to ensure we meet the high standards we all expect at Carolina.”