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Published: Saturday, 7/23/2011

Rockets reward Beckman

Grid coach earns raise, extension

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
In 2 years Tim Beckman, shown at spring game, helped UT improve on field and classroom. In 2 years Tim Beckman, shown at spring game, helped UT improve on field and classroom.
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University of Toledo football coach Tim Beckman’s first two seasons were a success, so as a reward, the school is giving him two more.

Beckman and UT completed a contract extension for two years on Friday, extending the length of their initial deal until 2015 and restructuring some salary escalators and incentives.

Beckman will receive a raise of $5,000 for this year — in addition to the $10,000 bump he gets every year — bringing his 2011 guaranteed income to $360,000. In 2015, the final year of the deal, Beckman will net $400,000.

In sweetening Beckman’s contract, UT acknowledged the success the coach has had in bringing new energy to the football program, both on the field and in the classroom. Last season, the Rockets became the first UT team to play in a bowl game since 2005, finishing the year 8-5 with a squad headlined by underclassmen. This spring, the Rockets exhibited improvement in a different area, posting their highest Academic Progress Rate in six years.

“We feel we could be a premier program in the [Mid-American Conference] and we’re excited about being here for two more years,” Beckman said.

The new contract is viewed both as an atta-boy to Beckman, and as a gesture aimed at UT recruits ensuring them that Beckman will be around for at least five more years — the length of most playing careers.

Left unchanged in the initial contract is the buyout clauses for both sides. If UT is to dismiss Beckman, it must pay him whatever he is owed throughout the remainder of his contract. If Beckman chooses to leave, he will be penalized anywhere from $100,000 to $130,000 until 2013, and will not be penalized at all if he resigns in 2014 or 2015.

Beckman’s new salary should place him in the top five of the MAC’s highest paid coaches. Ohio’s Frank Solich made the most amount of money among MAC coaches in 2010, pulling in $460,800. Bowling Green’s Dave Clawson ranked second from the bottom at $206,000.

“Tim Beckman is not only an outstanding football coach, but he is also a tremendous leader and mentor,” said Mike O’Brien, University of Toledo athletic director. “He is determined to make the UT football program the finest in the Mid-American Conference, as well as a factor on the national scene. In addition to building a winning football program, he is dedicated to making sure our student-athletes graduate and having them participate in community activities.”

The incentives on Beckman’s contract have sweetened, too. If UT is to win a MAC West championship, Beckman’s bonus for that achievement will increase from $15,000 to $25,000. Beckman’s previous deal stated if the Rockets play in the MAC championship game, he’d make $10,000, and $20,000 if they won. Those figures have swelled to $15,000 and $30,000.

Previously, UT had to win eight games for Beckman to pocket an extra $7,500. Now the Rockets need to win seven for Beckman to score that same bonus.

“The most important thing [about the contract] is it shows a commitment by the University of Toledo to this coaching staff,” Beckman said.

Rockets add 6th recruit

The University of Toledo football program has received its sixth commitment for the 2012 recruiting class.

Alex Zmolik (6-foot-4, 215 pounds) of Port Huron (Mich.) High School gave UT coach Tim Beckman a nonbinding verbal pledge Friday to play for the Rockets.

Zmolik, who is projected to play tight end in college, also reportedly had an offer from Central Michigan.

Per NCAA rules, Beckman is not permitted to comment on any incoming recruits until after they sign a national letter of intent.

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com or 419-724-6160.



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