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The University of Illinois has hired Tim Banks to be its new defensive coordinator, as the school announced on Wednesday. Banks was the co-defensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bearcats over the past two years, and he previously served the same role with Western Michigan.
Banks reunites with new Illinois head coach Tim Beckman, as the two coached together at Bowling Green in 1999 and 2000. Beckman spoke with ESPN Chicago's Adam Rittenberg about the move:
Tim Banks is a great fit for the University of Illinois. He led an outstanding defense at Central Michigan and made a great improvement at Cincinnati this past season. Tim and I worked together at Bowling Green and I consider him one of the brightest young coaches in the nation. Tim will run a very aggressive defensive system that will work very well with our personnel.
Banks led a pretty solid Cincinnati defense last season. The Bearcats ranked sixth nationally in rushing defense and 42nd overall. They were elite at getting pressure on the line, as they led the nation in tackles for loss and placed nationally second in sacks.
According to a report from the Tribune, Tim Beckman is set to hire Tim Banks as his defensive coordinator at Illinois.
Banks served as the Bearcats’ co-defensive coordinator last season, when the team ranked first nationally in tackles for losses with 8.58 per game and second with 3.46 sacks per game. Prior to his stint in Cincinnati, he served in the same position for three seasons at Central Michigan.
Finding a DC had been something of a struggle for Beckman, who tried to retain incumbent defensive coordinator Vic Koenning to no avail, then thought he had Jon Tenuta, who later changed his mind about the job.
Banks comes to Illinois from Cincinnati, where he helped the Bearcats finish 42nd in total defense and 20th in scoring defense in 2011.
After a false start in announcing that Jon Tenuta had been hired at Illinois, the Illini are still in search of a defensive coordinator, but on Friday they announced three other additions to Tim Beckman's staff: Steve Clinkscale, Billy Gonzalez and Tim Salem.
Gonzales will serve as #illini co-off. coordinator, Salem will coach RB and serve as special teams coordinator. Defensive assignments TBA.— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) January 13, 2012
Clinkscale worked with Beckman at Toledo.
Gonzalez comes to Illinois from LSU, where he had been the passing-game coordinator and receivers coach. He is a long-time associate of Urban Meyer's, having worked with Meyer at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida. Salem spent the last eight years at Central Florida, most recently as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.
On Tuesday, new Illinois Fighting Illini head football coach Tim Beckman announced that he had hired Jon Tenuta, the linebackers coach at NC State, to be the school's new defensive coordinator. Now it appears that Tenuta has had a change of heart, as Illinois has announced on Wednesday that Tenuta has decided to remain at North Carolina State rather than join Beckman's new staff.
Tenuta, 54, is considered one of the top defensive coaches in the nation. Before joining N.C. State, he spent time as the defensive coordinator for both Notre Dame and Georgia Tech, establishing his strong reputation for coaching defenses. His name has cropped up in numerous employment rumors over the years, with his recent ties to Illinois being just the latest.
On Tuesday afternoon, new Illinois football coach Tim Beckman announced that he has added three coaches to his staff:
"I am pleased to announce the additions of Chris Beatty, Luke Butkus and Jon Tenuta to the Fighting Illini coaching staff," Beckman said. "John is considered one of the top defensive coaches in the nation and has a world of great experience that he will bring to Illinois. Chris is thought of as one of the top young coaches in the nation, especially as a recruiter. Luke obviously brings one of the great names in the history of football and the University of Illinois back to our program."
Beatty was the wide receivers coach and offensive recruiting coordinator for Vanderbilt, while Butkus spent the last five seasons as an assistant in the NFL. Tenuta was the linebackers coach at NC State, where he helped give the Wolfpack defense more of an aggressive bent.
Prior to his stint with NC State, Tenuta was the long-time defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech and also spent three seasons coordinating Notre Dame's defense. He figures to assume that role with the Illini as well.
New Illinois football coach Tim Beckman continues to build his staff at Illinois, and on Tuesday the school announced a pair of additions, both from Beckman's staff at Toledo: and Alex Golesh.
Ward was Toledo's co-defensive coordinator but will serve as a position coach with the Illini. Beckman did not reveal which position Ward would coach.
Golesh, who worked at Northern Illinois as a graduate assistant for two years, will be the team's recruiting coordinator.
Beckman also said that his staff is nearly complete but he was not willing to offer up any names because many of them are coaching and preparing for bowl games with their current teams.
Defensive coordinator and interim head coach Vic Koenning, whom Beckman tried to retain, is expected to join the staff at North Carolina at the conclusion of this season.
The next task for new Illinois football head coach in Tim Beckman is to begin assembling his coaching staff, and he's starting with a familiar face: Toledo offensive coordinator and interim head coach Matt Campbell has been offered the Illinois offensive coordinator position:
"Matt’s a great football mind," Beckman said at halftime of Sunday night’s Illinois basketball game.
Beckman has made offeres to other coaches outside of Toledo but declined to name those candidates. He will meet with Illinois coaches on Monday.
Campbell was named Toledo's interim head coach on Dec. 9 and will coach the Rockets in their bowl game. According to that Chicago Tribune report, Campbell is a leading candidate to replace Beckman at Toledo, so the Illini may end up having to go in a different direction.
Campbell has been a coach at Toledo since 2009.
On Friday afternoon, the University of Illinois announced the hiring of Tim Beckman, who replaces Ron Zook as the head football coach of the Fighting Illini. Beckman, who comes to Illinois from the Toledo Rockets, promised to "work tirelessly" to make the Illini more competitive in the Big Ten:
"I certainly want to thank Mike Thomas, Chancellor Wise and President Hogan for this outstanding opportunity at the University of Illinois," Beckman said. "We will work tirelessly in building the football program to compete for Big Ten and national championships, and be a source of pride for Fighting Illini fans across the nation. We will recruit the very best student-athletes to represent the University and will work extremely hard to develop strong relationships within the state of Illinois."
Beckman was 21-16 in three years as Toledo's head coach, twice winning eight games in a season. The Rockets also made two bowl appearances under his watch. Prior to his stint at Toledo, which was his first head coaching job, Beckman spent time as an assistant at Oklahoma State and Ohio State.
According to the Trib's Shannon Ryan, Beckman's deal with Illinois is for five years and $9 million.
Rumors had been floating around that Illinois was eyeing Toledo head coach Tim Beckman to take over their football program, and recently John Buccigross of ESPN reported that sources were telling him that the deal would happen. Now Jordan Strack, a sports anchor in Toledo, has reported that he's confirmed the deal: Tim Beckman is leaving Toledo to take over at Illinois.
The move culminates a search that began last month when the school fired incumbent head coach Ron Zook. Zook was unable to lead the Fighting Illini to major success in the Big Ten, culminating with a brutal 2011 that began with six straight wins and ended with six straight losses.
Now Illinois will turn to Beckman to get the team back on track. A longtime defensive coach that spent time as defensive coordinator for Oklahoma State and Bowling Green as well as cornerbacks coach for Ohio State, Beckman led Toledo to a 20-16 record over three seasons.
The Rockets were much better over Beckman's final two seasons, though, posting a combined 15-9 record while going 13-2 in Mid-American Conference games. They lost in the Little Caesar's Bowl last year but will play in the Military Bowl on Dec. 28, 2011.
After dismissing former head football coach Ron Zook in the wake of a disappointing season, Illinois has been completely focused on finding its next head coach. University of Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas has been interested in Wisconsin Badgers' Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst, but now Illinois is "zeroing in on" Toledo Rockets' head coach Tim Beckman, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune. Beckman will reportedly meet with the Illini on Thursday, and is meeting with his Toledo staff on Thursday morning as well.
Beckman is 21-16 in his three-year coaching tenure at Toledo, including an 8-4 record this season and a 14-2 record in the Mid-American Conference over the past two seasons. He is currently preparing his team for a 2011 Military Bowl matchup against the Air Force Falcons on Dec. 28.
It may not be a glamorous name to add to the mix, but Beckman might be a cheaper option than other candidates. Consider the following note from the Chicago Tribune:
According to USA Today's coaching salary database, Beckman makes only about $400,000. It's thought Illinois is willing to pay up to $2 million, but Beckman may not make that leap from his current salary.
It was rumored earlier today that the Illinois football team was closing in on a deal with Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, but Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports is reporting that a deal between the two is "not happening."
Sumlin appears to be at the top of the Fighting Illini's list of coaching candidates after turning Houston into one of the better programs in the nation, but he's also one of the most popular coaching candidates in general when it comes to big-name gigs. Other major schools looking for new coaches right now include Arizona State, UCLA and Texas A&M.
Getting Sumlin on board would be a major coup for Illinois, especially given that programs in Michigan State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan are doing well and Ohio State is certainly on the path after hiring Urban Meyer. The Fighting Illini need a quality coach to make an impact in the Big Ten.
For more on Sumlin's ongoing job hunt, check in with SB Nation Houston. For updates and info on Illinois' search, visit SB Nation Chicago and Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's Illinois Fighting Illini blog.
Illinois' football coaching search still could go in a number of directions at this point, but according to some reports, the school has zeroed in on Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin. WSCR's Dan Bernstein tweeted on Tuesday that he's heard the school is confident it can land Sumlin:
Sources at Illinois saying they still think Sumlin is theirs.
My sources are telling me that it's Kevin Sumlin to Illinois. Announcement could be coming within hours
Sumlin led the Houston Cougars to a 12-1 regular season, their only loss coming in the Conference USA championship game. Sumlin has also been connected to the vacant jobs at Arizona State and Texas A&M in recent weeks.
The Illinois Fighting Illini were interested in talking with Temple football coach Steve Addazio about their coaching vacancy, but Addazio declined to be interviewed according to a report from the Philadelphia Daily News (via). When told about the interest from Illinois, Addazio told Temple athletic director Bill Bradshaw that "he was very happy to be at Temple, and not interested in that opportunity."
University of Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas is reportedly interested in Wisconsin Badgers' Offensive Coordinator Paul Chryst to replace recently fired Ron Zook as Head Football Coach for the Fighting Illini, according to a report by Jeff Potrykus of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Thomas promised to begin the search for a new head coach immediately after firing Zook, and has apparently turned his search to candidates within the Big Ten by identifying Chryst. With a Learjet flight travelling from the University of Illinois' Willard Airport to Madison, WI early Monday evening, it is possible the two men have already met regarding the vacancy.
Chryst coached tight ends on the Badgers coaching staff in 2002, then moved on to a coaching job at Oregon State University in 2003 and 2004, before rejoining the Wisconsin staff in 2005. When Bret Bielema was elevated to head coach in 2006 after Barry Alvarez retired from the position, Chryst took over as offensive coordinator and has held that post ever since. Chryst also reportedly turned down an offer to become the OC at the University of Texas after last season, but perhaps a head coaching job would be enough to lure him away from the Badgers.
Zook was fired after the Fighting Illini became the first team in college football history to begin the season 6-0 and conclude it at 6-6, by ending their season with six consecutive losses.
Ron Zook has been dismissed for less than 48 hours, but Illinois has already compiled an impressive list of coach candidates who could be potential replacements. While former Texas Tech head coach Mike Leach remains the most appealing name -- if not a long-shot -- the Illini aren't short desirable options. The latest round of involves Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano and Toledo head coach Tim Beckman.
Narduzzi has ties to Illinois AD Mike Thomas, the man charged with replacing Zook. Both spent time at Cincinnati. Narduzzi's Big Ten ties could also make him appealing.
Greg Schiano is another name that might pique some interest in Illini fans. Says the Chicago Tribune:
Schiano, who was a Bears defensive assistant under Dave Wannstedt, has been the head coach at Rutgers since 2001. The Scarlet Knights struggled as a Big East doormat early in his tenure but matured into an annual title contender from 2005-09, playing in five straight bowl games and winning four. He won most of the 2006 coach of the year awards after the significant program turnaround.
College football fans will likely remember Schiano's name being mentioned in past coaching vacancies at Michigan and Miami.
Beckman has gone 8-4 the last two seasons at Toledo.
Illinois parted ways with head coach Ron Zook following a disappointing second half of the season that saw the Illini lose six consecutive games. Now Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas must begin the search for his next coach, and the Chicago Tribune's Shannon Ryan offers some potential candidates. Among them are Cincinnati head coach Butch Jones, Temple head coach Steve Addazio and South Florida head coach Skip Holtz. On Jones:
Butch Jones: The Cincinnati coach has ties to Thomas, who hired him at Cincinnati to replace Brian Kelly. At 43, he's considered an up-and-comer, rebounding from a 4-8 inaugural season to an 8-3 record as the Bearcats have a shot at a share of the Big East title. He won two MAC titles in three years at Central Michigan.
Other names on Ryan's list include Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads and Mike Leach.
The University of Illinois has fired head coach Ron Zook on Sunday, according to the Champaign News-Gazette's Bob Asmussen. While the news is unconfirmed, Asmussem cites sources and says that an official announcement is on the way. CBS Sports is also reporting that sources have said that a press conference has been called for 4 p.m. CT on Sunday afternoon to announce the firing.
Zook's firing shouldn't really be a surprise to anyone after the season that Illinois just had. The Fighting Illini started the season 6-0 with legitimate hopes of a Big Ten championship, but they proceeded to become the first team in college football history to begin the season 6-0 and conclude it at 6-6. Illinois managed to end its season by losing six consecutive games.
The former Florida Gators coach finishes his career at Illinois with an ugly 34-50 record over seven seasons. He only coached two teams to above-.500 records, peaking in 2007 when Illinois appeared in the Rose Bowl. His tenure in Illinois ends with an extremely disappointing 27-7 loss to a mediocre Minnesota Golden Gophers team.
The Illini have more than a tough season to deal with, they have the drama of a hot seat coach on their hands too.
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