Illinois eyes UT's Beckman to replace football coach

Toledo coach Tim Beckman watches the action during an October game against Bowling Green at Doyt Perry Stadium.
Toledo coach Tim Beckman watches the action during an October game against Bowling Green at Doyt Perry Stadium.

Beckman declined to address reports that he is the main target for the head coaching vacancy at Illinois in an exclusive interview with The Blade on Thursday afternoon.

As he walked to the Glass Bowl for his team's practice, Beckman initially said he didn't have time to speak with a reporter. But when asked if he's had any involvement with Illinois, Beckman replied, "Nothing right now." When asked if he's had any contact at all with Illinois officials, Beckman again replied, "Nothing right now."

Beckman then abruptly ended the interview when pressed about reports saying he could be headed to Illinois. "I'm not going to comment," he said before walking away.

Beckman was scheduled to meet with media after Thursday's practice at the Glass Bowl, but UT sent out an email shortly after noon stating that Beckman would not be available for interviews because he was heading "directly to a funeral in Columbus after practice." Visitation services for ex-Ohio State quarterbacks coach Joe Daniels are being held in a Columbus suburb Thursday afternoon, and Beckman said earlier this week he was planning to be in attendance.

In his third season at Toledo, Beckman has compiled a 21-16 record and has the Rockets appearing in a bowl game for the second straight year. Last week he denied having any contact with Illinois officials and said he was focused on bowl preparations with UT.

"I have not been contacted by anyone," Beckman said last Thursday. "We're worried about bowl games, we're worried about bowl preparation, and I love Toledo."

Beckman also declined to comment last week on whether or not he'd be interested if the right offer from another school came along."I'm worried about the Toledo Rockets," he said. "I'm worried about winning a bowl game. We did not get that accomplished last year. I'm worried about these seniors leaving this school successful."

RELATED STORY: Beckman says he has no plans to leave Toledo, Dec. 2

According to USA Today's coaching salary database, Beckman makes only about $400,000. It's thought Illinois is willing to pay up to $2 million, but Beckman may not make that leap from his current salary, the Tribune reported.