This article doesn't seem quite fair to write. Illinois' Tim Beckman has just said too many questionable things. It's really like picking low-hanging fruit. There's no challenge in it.
It all started even before his first game at Illinois. In an article from August 2012, our Rodger Sherman wrote about the things Beckman and Illinois were doing to add some flare to the Northwestern-Illinois rivalry. Aside from Illinois resorting to a new slogan to assert itself as the dominant school in the state, Beckman also has his injured players intentionally wear purple uniforms in practice. Sherman went through some of the potential reasons for this:
- "Hah! Look at Greg over on the sidelines with the torn ACL! He's just like those wimpy cowards at Northwestern who sit out when they get injured!"
- "Hah! Look at Greg over on the sidelines with the torn ACL! He's recuperating and diligently working better to improve just like those guys at Northwestern!"
- "Hah! Look at Greg over on the sidelines with the torn ACL! Let's make fun of our friend for being hurt!"
It continued during his first season at Illinois. The writers over at The Champaign Room brought Beckmemes to our attention because, as the writer puts it, "I was bored and all we can do at this point is laugh anyway."
After his first season, one in which Illinois went 2-10, Stewart Mandel listed Beckman as one of the five worst coaches in the country. Usually a fanbase would be outraged at this negativity. It had only been one season and he was in the process of rebuilding Illinois in his mold. Yet, that's not exactly what happened as almost half of the readers thought Beckman was indeed one of the five worst coaches in the nation. More evidence from The Champaign Room:
Beckman and the Illini improved to 4-8 in 2013 and now stand at 5-6 this season. But that doesn't mean there weren't bumps in the road. For example, read through this from 2014 National Signing Day:
"We signed four football players out of the ‘state' of Chicago, as we call it. And that is more than the actual team that is in Chicago signed," Beckman said. "So we're proud, and we want this state to understand that we're proud of the high school football in this state."
I'm just going to leave that here...
There were declarations that "five or six wins" would be an improvement for the program. (Congrats, Tim! You did it!) That came a year after questions about whether Beckman knew his own mother's birthday arose.
This season, following a blowout loss at Washington, he said, "You take out 21 points on three plays and we're in this football game." Illinois lost 44-19.
His excuse for low-rated recruiting classes: Illinois has higher academic standards than other Big Ten schools.
Sure, Beckman hates Northwestern. He does all that quasi-inspirational stuff. He doesn't wear purple. Doesn't call Northwestern by its name. Has an anti-Northwestern sign. Doesn't let anyone use purple pens. It's stuff like that that helps a team win football games, you know?
Never change, Tim Beckman. We love you.
If I missed anything, be sure to alert me in the comments because I'm sure I did.