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Illinois Coaching Candidates: Fighting Illini To Hire Toledo's Tim Beckman, According To Report

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. 

For more, keep tabs on SB Nation Chicago and SB Nation's NCAA football page. For more on the Fighting Illini, check out Hail to the Orange, SB Nation's Illinois Fighting Illini blog.