Beckman returns to UT

After three seasons at UT, Tim Beckman was hired to replace Ron Zook at Illinois.
After three seasons at UT, Tim Beckman was hired to replace Ron Zook at Illinois.

Newly hired University of Illinois football coach Tim Beckman was back at the University of Toledo on Sunday to meet with the media and mull whether he would attend the Rockets' team banquet later Sunday.

After three seasons at UT, Beckman was hired Friday to replace Ron Zook at Illinois, accepting a five-year contract that will pay him $9 million over five years.

"I first want to start off by saying, opportunities come about in life because of the people you are involved [with]," Beckman said. "It's a family thing."

Beckman then thanked UT president Lloyd Jacobs and athletic director Mike O'Brien for giving him his first opportunity to be a head coach. He also thanked the Toledo community for its support.

As for his decision not to tell his players and coaches about his involvement with Illinois on Thursday when reports first surfaced about his impending departure, Beckman said he wasn't allowed to discuss it.

"I hadn't even interviewed on [Illinois'] campus yet," Beckman said. "There's protocol that has to be served anytime you get a job. I wasn't officially offered the job, so I could not make a remark on that job."

Beckman is currently in the process of putting together his coaching staff at Illinois and said he has already offered UT interim coach Matt Campbell a spot on his staff. Beckman said he expects to have "one or two" UT assistants join him at Illinois this week and more could follow after the bowl game. Campbell and O'Brien said Friday that they both expected UT's coaching staff to remain intact, minus Beckman, until after the matchup with Air Force in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28 in Washington.

As for recruiting, Beckman said he will not contact any of the 18 high school students who have verbally committed to the Rockets unless they are "wavering" on their commitments to UT. Beckman did say one player has reopened his recruitment but could not identify him because of NCAA rules.