Illini Hire Tim Beckman From Toledo: Very Underwhelming on Paper

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Ohio State hiring Urban Meyer this was not. Utah hiring Urban Meyer this could possibly be.

Even though it’s not official yet, conventional wisdom, the status quo and 4 out of 5 dentists agree: Toledo Rockets head Coach Tim Beckman will soon become the successor to Ron Zook at Illinois. This Illini head coaching hire has far less pizazz and excitement than any hire in recent memory. And that could be bad.

Then again the Zook hire had plenty of hoopla, and much of it was for the wrong reasons, so maybe going vanilla and “meh” is the right thing this time around?

I’m glad Illinois Athletic Director took some big swings, even if he whiffed on all of them.

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Next Illini Head Coach: Houston’s Kevin Sumlin?

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Word is Illini Athletic Director Mike Thomas could introduce the new Illinois Head football coach any day now. He said he would move fast; and he seems to be doing it.

Most of what we’ve being hearing in the media involves guys saying they haven’t been contacted by the University of Illinois. That includes Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken, who seems very interested in the gig- and a perfect fit.

But Monken claims they haven’t been in touch. If the job is his, he would become the fifth OSU OC among the last 6 to later get a head job.

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So Where Does Ron Zook, a True Nice Guy, Go From Here?

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A funny thing happened on the way to Illinois cleansing and ridding itself of the Ron Zook era.

Honestly, as someone who has written numerous pieces for The Sports Bank about how much Zook needed to be fired over the years, I just didn’t see it coming.

I felt bad.

I really did.

(guest post from Paul Schmidt)

There’s a fundamental problem with dancing on the grave of any head coach, but in particular one like Zook, and it highlights the biggest problem with letting a coach like Zook go from a program like Illinois: I really liked him.

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Ron Zook Fired! Illini A.D. Addresses Media (Video)

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You look at the pic above and think “what does a celebration from the Illinois Fighting Illini 2004-05 college basketball season have to do with this?” The long overdue firing of the school’s college football coach Ron Zook.

Well, when I searched for google images of “Illini celebration,” it was all hoops images. (which says something about why the Zooker is being jettisoned. And, I needed an orange and blue celebration pic for a news like this.

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Which Illini Coordinator Gets Ron Zook’s (Interim) Job?

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In 2009, a very underachieving Illini football team finished 3-9. Picked as high as third by some Big Ten and college football pundits, the horrible record was nothing short of a catastrophe for the resume of Ron Zook and the Illinois program.

Or so I thought.

Logic dictated then Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther can Zook then and there. Unfortunately, Guenther had FOOLISHLY given Zook a big, expensive contract extension before that season, and buying him out would have been just about financially impossible.

So what did Guenther/Illinois do? They doubled down on a losing hand. Sort of.

They brought in two flashy, expensive coordinators to take as much responsibility off of Zook’s plate as possible. Vic Koenning for the defense, Paul Petrino for the offense.

So which one gets the gig now?

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5 Biggest Reasons Illinois Should Fire Ron Zook Next Sunday

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The main story surrounding the Illinois Fighting Illini losing 28-17 to the Wisconsin Badgers today is the fact that Illini Head Coach Ron Zook is a “dead man walking.”

New Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas said he won’t make a decision until after the season is over, so I wouldn’t expect to hear anything concrete until after the season’s final game- next Saturday at the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Sure, there might be a bowl game, but the axe could fall on Zook’s head a week from Sunday.

The Illini blew a 10-point second half lead to Wisconsin, as the Badgers had TD drives of 2, 30, 44, and 39 yards. No, that’s not a typo, it’s an indication of how POOR the Illini special teams are. And how their offense keeps turning it over, but that’s another story for another time.

For now, I’ll list (in no particular order) the top 5 fireable qualities in Ron Zook WITHOUT mentioning his 34-50, 18-37 in the Big Ten record while at Illinois. That’s obviously reason #1; the W-L record speaks for itself.

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Ron Zook Asked About Job Security; Walks Out of Media Session

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Sometimes I forget that Illini football coach Ron Zook means something different to me than he does to the rest of the nation. I regard him as the college football coach at my alma mater, the University of Illinois.

Sure, I take issue with a lot of his play-calling, and the way he defends his play-calling to the media (especially after the Western Michigan game, when his bad decision making and even worse, his rationale for those decisions, almost gave the Illini win away to an inferior MAC team), but I often forget that to much of America- his name is a punch-line.

Today, reminded me of that brutal truth; when Zook did something that is sure to be national news.

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