CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (CBS) — Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas said football coach Tim Beckman will return to coach the Fighting Illini next year, despite managing only two wins this year – none of them against Big Ten rivals.
“At the end of the day, Tim Beckman’s going to be our coach in the future. He’ll be our head football coach next year,” Thomas told the “Tay and J Show” on WJEK-FM in Champaign on Tuesday.
The Fighting Illini finished the 2012 season with a dismal 2-10 record, thanks in large part to a porous defense that gave up 45 points or more five times, and shut out only one opponent – Charleston Southern, an FCS team that has never defeated an FBS team like Illinois.
Thomas said, despite the team’s failures, Beckman deserves more than just one year to get the Illini back to being a winning team.
“When a coach has been on a campus 10 months or so, I think someone deserves more of an opportunity to put their system in place, their culture in place, their kids in place that fit that system to provide stability for the future,” Thomas said.
Illinois had been to bowl games the previous two seasons under Ron Zook, who was fired after the 2011 team won its first games, then lost six in a row.
Thomas said there were a lot of reasons the Illini had such a poor season, including injuries, and a lack of depth.
Although Beckman will return in 2013, Thomas said, “Tim and I will have discussions.”
“It’ll be a comprehensive review about his program as it relates to the operation of, the management of, personnel, all those type things. But for me to speculate when I haven’t even sat down with Tim is a little bit premature, and that’s probably something at the end of the day that he should probably talk about,” Thomas said.