The idea of dumping a football coach after only one season -- no matter how miserable it is -- seems hard to fathom.
But Southern Miss just did it with Ellis Johnson. And speculation had been mounting that Illinois would do the same with Tim Beckman after an utterly miserable 2-10 season in Year 1.
But athletic director Mike Thomas put the talk to rest Tuesday, telling ESPN Radio 95.3 in Champaign that Beckman will return for his second season in 2013.
"At the end of the day, Tim Beckman's going to be our football coach in the future," Thomas told hosts Lon Tay and Jeremy Werner. "He'll be our football coach next year."
Beckman and his staff are currently out recruiting and will do the same next week. Thomas hasn't had a chance to do a full evaluation of the program with Beckman but will do so in the near future. Among the topics they'll discuss is Beckman's staff and whether there will be some changes, as expected.
Illinois went winless in Big Ten play for the fourth time since 1997 and dropped six of eight conference games by 24 points or more. The Illini finished the season with a 50-14 loss to Northwestern. Beckman's troubles began before the season with his aggressive and highly publicized pursuit of Penn State players. He also had to apologize for chewing tobacco on the sideline and received two sideline penalties in the Northwestern loss.
Thomas noted that it takes time for a coach to settle in and get the team to buy into his approach. Beckman will get at least a little bit more.