Illinois announces Tim Beckman will return in 2015

Illinois head coach Tim Beckman will return for 2015, athletic director Mike Thomas announced on Sunday.
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Illinois head coach Tim Beckman will return for 2015, athletic director Mike Thomas announced on Sunday.

"It was important to see improvement in our football program this season," Thomas said. "Over the last month, we have won three of our last five games, including a pair of Big Ten wins over teams (Minnesota & Penn State) who are headed to the postseason. Our student-athletes have played their best football of the season down the stretch of a tough schedule that included nine bowl-eligible opponents. It's my expectation that with the upcoming bowl and another off-season of development, that Tim's continued leadership will keep Fighting Illini Football moving forward and even more competitive in the conference and nationally."

Illinois finished 6-6 (3-5 Big Ten) after beating Northwestern on Saturday to become bowl-eligible. Whichever bowl the Fighting Illini play in will be their first since 2011, when they beat UCLA in the Fight Hunger Bowl. In that season, Illinois started 6-0, but finished 6-6, costing head coach Ron Zook his job.

Beckman was hired the following season after three seasons as the Toledo head coach.

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Over his three seasons at Illinois, Beckman is 12-24. The Illini started slowly in Big Ten play, losing five of their first six conference games, before defeating Penn State and Northwestern to become bowl eligible.

- Mike Fiammetta