Tim Beckman should have been fired long ago, but now will do

SHARE Tim Beckman should have been fired long ago, but now will do
SHARE Tim Beckman should have been fired long ago, but now will do

Tim Beckman is the son of a coach. In football, that’s often seen as a positive. Here’s a guy who was weaned on the sport and gets it, the thinking goes.

I don’t believe Beckman gets it at all. Or maybe he gets it as long as this is 1960 and a crazed coach can do whatever he wants to his players. He seemed to come from another age, from a small town in which everybody supported the football team and never second-guessed the coach, who was equal parts father figure and feared despot. A coach’s son might harbor those wistful ideas.

Illinois fired Beckman on Friday after a review found that he pressured players into avoiding medical treatment so that they could continue playing with injuries. Several players had come forward complaining about his handling of them, which spurred the investigation.

“The preliminary information external reviewers shared with me does not reflect our values or our commitment to the welfare of our student-athletes, and I’ve chosen to act accordingly,” athletic director Mike Thomas said in a statement. “During the review, we have asked people not to rush to judgment, but I now have enough information to make this decision in assessing the status and direction of the football program.”

Being a bad football coach didn’t seem to work against Beckman, but being an embarrassment to the university (and a potential target of lawsuits) made him expendable, even a week before the season was to begin.

I’m not going to waste your time telling you Illinois needs to hire a coach who can turn around this program. The fact that the football hasn’t been consistently good for years tells me the school simply can’t attract quality coaches. I’ve written before that the state’s flagship university deserves better. But deserving better and getting it are two different things.

That’s how you get stuck with a Tim Beckman and his backward ways.


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