Tim Beckman just can’t get out of his own way.
On the day the Illinois head was supposed to introduce and celebrate the addition of the best recruiting class in his three-year tenure with the program, the focus instead shifted to something he said.
Beckman, who is entering his fourth season in Champaign with a 12-25 (4-20 Big Ten) record, told the media that its coverage of the Illini program needs to be more positive.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times, here’s what Beckman had to say:
"And the last I’m gonna leave this up to you guys, k? We’re all in this state. We all want to build the best football team that we can. So I’m gonna put it on you. What are they (recruits) reading? Social media is big nowadays. What are you saying? So the challenge again, as I said after that Northwestern game, the challenge is still how important is the University of Illinois to you? Because it is very, very important to us. And we know that we can be successful if we’re all in it together. Because our intentions are to build a champion. Ok? One day at a time, whatever it takes. But our intention is to build a champion.”
It gets better.
“I think as much positive stuff as we can continue to broadcast about this great institution and the athletic programs we have and how our athletic programs are moving forward in, really, every category of sports that we play, what we’re doing academically. I think there’s a lot of things you can talk about positively with this program.”
Beckman then was asked specifically by a reporter if he’s asking the media to be more positive about Illinois football.
“Everybody. Everybody. Let’s build this thing into a championship, and the more positive stuff you can talk about, the better off we all are.”
Yeah. That’s not really how the media works, Tim. The media’s job isn’t to wave pom poms for the Illini. The media is supposed to be objective, so when you win four conference games in three seasons, there may be a few members of the press who think you’re not doing a very good job.
Illinois jumped 30 spots in the Rivals recruiting rankings from No. 75 to No. 45 with its 2015 class. The Illini even landed a surprising signing day commitment from running back KeShawn Vaughn, a four-star recruit who many thought would commit to either Louisville or West Virginia.
There surely would have been more positive press about the positive steps made in the program's recruiting efforts, but Beckman overshadowed it with the latest in his seemingly never-ending string of baffling comments.
Sure the program has improved from 2-10 to 4-8 to 6-7 under his watch, but his mouth hasn’t done him too many favors during his tenure.
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