LIVE: Updates from press conference on Beckman's firing

Illinois’ head coach Tim Beckman yells at a referee for a penalty call during the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl against Louisiana Tech at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. The Illini lost 35-18.

By Michal Dwojak

(3:30 p.m.) The press conference has ended. Continue to check our website throughout the day for more extended coverage. 


(3:28 p.m.)  Cubit said it’s been a little hectic and he’s happy he’s had the experience at past places. He also said he didn’t notice any mistreatment or any of the accusations that Beckman was found of in the investigation. 


(3:25 p.m.) Bill Cubit, interim coach, is now speaking at the press conference. He said he was having breakfast with wife when he found out. He said he has respect for Beckman but it’s all about the student-athletes and he knows the players have the perseverance. 

Cubit said he hasn’t seen the report and can’t comment on it. He said football coaches aren’t worried about lost interest in the season due to the lack of job security. 

Ultimately, he said he has to stay focused and it’s the coaches job to get the players ready to perform Friday. He talked to Beckman briefly and thanked him for giving him the job, adding that he’s a loyal guy. 

He said he has a good relationship with the recruits since he helped find them.


(3:17 p.m.) Bill Cubit’s salary is currently $515,000 and he will receive an additional $100,000 the next four months.

Thomas said he’s thinking about the young men he had to tell that they won’t have a head football coach. He said the players’ reaction was quiet and the decision came to them as a great surprise. 

“There’s a lot of grit and fortitude and they will play for each other,” he said. 

Thomas said he did not expect to see this level of abuse, adding that it’s a good way of questioning why they didn’t know this earlier. He said he did not hear of other programs allegations and hasn’t been updated into other investigations. 

Thomas said decision to fire Beckman had nothing to do with the performance on the field, just the findings in the investigation.

Thomas said they were getting positive reaction about his past players’ performance in the community and the classroom, showing growth as a team. 


(3:13 p.m.) Thomas said this has been one of the hardest things he’s had to deal with during his career. Cubit will considered as a candidate for a full-time position as head coach if he wants to. Interim Chancellor Wilson said it is Thomas’ search to conduct. He said he is confident in the program that he is leading and not worried about job security. 

Thomas said he discovered the findings at the beginning of the week and was shocked and angry when he found out. He said there is a formal process for starting a search for a permanent head coach and they are a few months away from starting that process.


(3:09 p.m.) Thomas said he would’ve been disturbed with the accusations no matter when this took place. He said the report is not complete and he cannot comment about other incidents. Thomas believes the culture is still strong and his athletes wear integrity on their sleeve.

Thomas said it’s about making sure they’re about doing things the right way and when a change needs to be made, it will be made. At this point in time, there aren’t any plans of changing a staff members. 

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(3:07 p.m.) Thomas said firing a head coach a week before the season is unknown territory. Bill Cubit has the experience and it will take the entire department moving ahead, Thomas said. He said it was his call to fire Beckman and not brought down from the chancellor’s office.

He said he consulted with a variety of people, including Interim Chancellor Barbara Wilson.


(3:05 p.m.) Athletics Director MikeThomas said hopes today will be the first step to turn the page.

He has been briefed on the first part of the review and saw that Tim Beckman, head football coach, needed to be fired. Thomas said health and well-being of student athletes is the most important thing.

He said the review process began right away when the allegations were made. The investigation interviewed more than 90 people.

The timing is unfortunate, but the decision was better to be made now instead of later in the season, he said. When speaking with players, Thomas said they showed a range of emotions.


(2:30 p.m.) The Daily Illini sports staff will be attending a press conference held at 3 p.m. as Athletic Director Mike Thomas addresses firing Tim Beckman, head football coach.

Check back for updates throughout the conference.