Firing Beckman and his staff would be relatively cheap

Even with Saturday’s win, the future of Illinois’ football coaching staff is in doubt. Whether Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas is on the same page likely won’t be known until the final game of the season has been played.

But financially, Illinois appears to be in a better position to fire its staff than it was three years ago when it fired then-head coach Ron Zook.

All things considered, firing Beckman and his entire staff would be relatively cheap.

Of Beckman and his nine assistants, only three of the 10 coaches contracts extend past this season. Offensive coordinator Bill Cubit and tight ends coach Alex Golesh each have one more year remaining on their contracts. Beckman has two more years. Cubit and Golesh would be owed $500,000 and $220,000, respectively. Beckman would be owed $1.05 million.

The contracts of assistants Tim Banks, Mike Bellamy, Tom Brattan, Greg Colby, Tim Salem, Al Seamonson and Mike Ward all end on Jan. 31, 2015, following this season. Illinois could fire Beckman and simply see their contracts through to the end.

Three years ago, when Illinois fired Zook, Zook still had two years remaining on his contract and was owed a total of $2.6 million.

Firing Backman and his entire staff would be cheaper than firing Zook was.

Zook benefitted from a hefty raise following the Rose Bowl appearance after the 2007 season. Beckman has had no such success, and thus, no such raise or extension.

What also compounded the problem with Zook’s firing was that Thomas also fired Bruce Weber and Jolette Law, the men’s and women’s basketball coaches, in the same year.

Combined, Illinois was paying more than $7 million for coaches who were no longer working for the University.

But disregarding comparisons to Zook, Beckman is a relatively cheap fire, even compared to other coaches currently on the hot seat around the country. Michigan’s Brady Hoke, should he lose his job, would be owed $2 million. Florida’s Will Muschamp, should he get the axe, would be owed $8 million — $2 million for each of the four seasons left on his contract. Kansas’ Charlie Weis is owed a buyout of $5.7 million. Indiana’s Kevin Wilson, signed through 2017, would be owed $1.7 million if he were fired.

One would imagine if Beckman goes, so goes his staff, or most of it anyway. Keeping Cubit is a possiblity and he is popular with the players.

But it’s hard to imagine Illinois keeping anyone around if Beckman loses his job.

Sean can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @sean_hammond.