December 9th, 2010 – Champaign, IL – After three years as head coach at the University of Toledo, Tim Beckman has leaped into the big leagues and into the Big Ten to become the 23rd head football coach in the history of the University of Illinois and the Fighting Illini. For his trouble, the University signed him on a five year, $9 million contract. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he goes by the name of jolly young Mike Thomas.
Beckman will replace interim head coach Vic Koenning, who took over the program after seven-year head coach was fired in November. Koenning has been preparing the team for their second straight bowl appearance as soon as they learned of their bid. Beckman said he would watch the Illini from the stands while Koenning and the remaining staff battle to a victory over UCLA on New Year’s Eve.
"I am excited, honored and privileged to be the 23rd head football coach hear at the University of Illinois," Beckman said in his opening statement. He thanked both the institution’s President and Chancellor before describing his lifelong football background with the delivery of small town Baptist minister. He added, "This is a dream come true for the Beckman family."