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Friday, January 13, 2012
Illinois adds three coaches to staff

By Brian Bennett

Illinois has announced the addition of three coaches to Tim Beckman's staff, including former LSU passing game coordinator Billy Gonzales. He'll serve as co-offensive coordinator along with the recently-hired Chris Beatty.

The Illini also hired Tim Salem as running backs coach and special teams coordinator and Steve Clinkscale to an unspecified role on the defense.

"Billy Gonzales has been a part of two national championship teams and coached in another national championship game earlier this week, and he brings a great reputation to the Fighting Illini," Beckman said in a release from the school. "He has coached in four BCS games and has been associated with great success wherever he has been.

"Tim Salem is a very experienced coach who has a great reputation around the nation. He has experience as an offensive coordinator and did an exceptional job in coordinating special teams at Central Florida. He has a Big Ten background as a coach at Ohio State and Purdue, as well as a quarterback at Minnesota, where his father, Joe, coached. Tim also has terrific recruiting contacts in several areas of the nation."

"Steve brings a great work ethic to the Illini football program. He's a terrific mentor of young men and an excellent young coach who pushes his players to be the best they can be. ‘Clink’ worked with our secondary at Toledo, coached an All-MAC player in Dez Marrow and was in charge of coaching All-American punt and kickoff returner Eric Page."

Clinkscale helped Toledo’s defense become a national leader in takeaways as the Rockets ranked fifth in turnovers gained in 2010 and 16th in 2011. He also mentored Page, who returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2010 and added a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns in 2011.

Gonzales spent two years at LSU after coaching receivers for five years at Florida. He coached under new Ohio State boss Urban Meyer at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green, joining Beckman on that Bowling Green staff.

Salem spent eight years at Central Florida, including the last three as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Before that, he was UCF’s offensive coordinator for five years.

Beckman still needs to hire a defensive coordinator and is expected to do that early next week.