Dienhart: Toledo's Beckman, Illini could be good fit

Toledo’s Tim Beckman may be the man at Illinois. According to a Thursday morning report in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois is focusing on Beckman to replace Ron Zook, who was fired after seven years in Champaign. I think Beckman would be a terrific hire. He has done a good job at Toledo, forging a 21-16 record (16-6 in the MAC) in three years and leading the school to share of the MAC West title this season. The 8-4 Rockets, 7-1 in each of the last two years in MAC action, will play Air Force in the Military Bowl this month, the second bowl under Beckman.

There could be more on this today. The Tribune notes:

“Beckman is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon where he planned to talk about the team’s upcoming Military Bowl against Air Force.”

Beckman has a defensive background, serving as defensive coordinator at Bowling Green and Oklahoma State, among other places. I’ve always though Illinois would tab a coach with an offensive background, but this would be a good hire if it happens.

Beckman’s appointment would follow a pattern new Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas established in the same post at Cincinnati. Thomas had to hire two football coaches for the Bearcats, and each time he plucked one from the MAC when he hired Brian Kelly and Butch Jones, both from Central Michigan.

Tom Dienhart is a senior writer for BTN.com. Got something to tell him about this post? He wants to hear about it. Follow Dienhart on Twitter at @BTNTomDienhart or send a question to his weekly mailbag here. You can also subscribe to his RSS feed.

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Lucas on 12/9/2011 @ 2:09pm EDT Said:

I hope Dienhart is right. Beckman doesn’t have the cachet that some of the other names mentioned in conjunction with the Illinois job have, but he seems to have a solid track record as a winner and disciplinarian. I’ll be rooting for you, coach.