In their search to replace fired football coach Ron Zook, the Illinois Fighting Illini have targeted Toledo Rockets coach Tim Beckman, reports the Chicago Tribune, citing multiple sources. If hired, Beckman will not coach Toledo in the 2011 Military Bowl against the Air Force Falcons. Further, the Tribune says, Beckman is meeting with Toledo officials Thursday morning.
Illinois fired Zook after his team ended its season on a six-game losing streak despite a 6-0 start.
In his three-year coaching career, all with Toledo, Beckman's record stands at 21-16, with an 0-1 mark in bowl games. He has improved his team's win percentage in each season, and has brought the top recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference to Toledo in each of the last two years, according to the Toledo Blade.
Just last Thursday, Beckman indicated to the Blade he had no plans to leave the Rockets. "I have not been contacted by anyone," he said in Zach Silka's report.
Interestingly, Silka notes, "Beckman declined to comment on whether or not he'd be interested if the right offer from another school came along."
The Tribune reports Illinois "is willing to pay up to $2 million," which would quintuple Beckman's current salary.
Here's more information on the 2011 Military Bowl:
Game date, time: 4:30 p.m. Eastern, December 28.
Location: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.
TV channel: ESPN/EPSN3
2010 winner and loser: Maryland Terrapins, East Carolina Pirates
For more on the 2011 Military Bowl, visit this StoryStream. For more on each bowl game as it’s announced, stay tuned to SB Nation’s 2011 college football bowl game bids coverage. And visit our many college football blogs.