Illinois Coaching Search Concludes With Tim Beckman Hire

After a six-game losing streak, Ron Zook was out of Champaign. He's been replaced by Toledo coach Tim Beckman. Here's our 2011 Coaching Carousel Tracker.

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Tim Beckman To Illinois All But Official, Based On Reports

Toledo Rockets head coach Tim Beckman has looked to be the favorite for the Illinois Fighting Illini job over the past few days, and it sounds like the deal could be announced as soon as Friday. The Associated Press reports Beckman has already told his players he'll be heading way, way out west.

(Also worth noting another Rockets coach has Twitterly critiqued Beckman's decision to leave.)

The MAC aficionados at Hustle Belt are accustomed to this sort of thing, and have turned to assessing the job Beckman did at Toledo:

But if he does leave, then let that be another tally on the MAC's wall of coaches who've stepped up from AQ conference coordinator to mid-major head coach and then to major-major head coach. If you want to get silly about it the last time someone replaced Ron Zook as head coach they won two national titles.

Beckman had an A-plus game plan against Ohio State, which they lost by five points. He did very admirably all season, from a near-loss at Syracuse to a rout of Temple - despite losing several starters on both sides of the ball. Back-to-back eight-win seasons, despite no MAC West division titles, was a dandy of a rebuild job on the fly considering where Toledo was (PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE POINT SHAVING). 

For more, visit Illinois blog Hail to the Orange and MAC blog Hustle Belt, and here's our 2011 Coaching Carousel Tracker.


Ron Zook Fired As Illinois Head Coach, According To Reports

Illinois head coach Ron Zook has been fired, according to a report from the Champaign News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen. Asmussen cites a source in his report, and says that official word on Zook's firing is forthcoming. Sources also tell CBS Sports that a press conference has been called for 4 p.m. Central to announce the firing.

Zook being let go comes as no surprise now, given the roller-coaster ride that has been Illinois football in the last 12 months. Zook was rumored to be on his way out at the end of 2010, after his Illini posted a 6-6 record, but was brought back for the 2011 season and had Illinois at 6-0 after its first six games of the season.

Then the Illini lost six straight games, becoming the first team in college football history to start 6-0 and finish 6-6, a collapse that likely sealed Zook's fate.

Zook is 34-50 in seven seasons at Illinois, peaking with a trip to the Rose Bowl in 2007 and recording just one other season above .500.

For more on the Fighting Illini, visit Illinois blog Hail to the Orange.

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