Two trustees vote against Beckman

Two trustees vote against Beckman

CHICAGO — Two University of Illinois trustees voted against the appointment of new football coach Tim Beckman on Thursday, citing the UI's failure to hire an African-American as a head football or basketball coach.

Trustee Lawrence Oliver read a statement just before the board's vote to approve Beckman's $9 million five-year contract, saying he had problems with the process and substance of the search in December.

He called it a "sad irony" that the UI places emphasis on diversity as a leading public university but has never had an African-American head football or basketball coach in its history. That "dubious distinction," he said, is shared in the Big Ten only with Purdue and Nebraska.

"African-Americans predominate these two sports," and have made significant gains in the assistant coaching ranks and to a lesser extent head coaching ranks, he said.

"I would hope that as a university we find this shutout unacceptable," Oliver said.

Oliver acknowledged that two African-American coaches were interviewed for the position — former Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin and UI graduate Kirby Wilson, running backs coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was injured in a fire earlier this month.

Sumlin was offered a contract by the UI but turned it down, accepting an offer at Texas A&M.

"We have to increase our effort. Making an opening offer for a hot African-American coaching prospect is not enough," Oliver said.

Trustee James Montgomery, a UI graduate, echoed Oliver's remarks and also voted no.

Categories (3):Illini Sports, Football, Sports

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PeterE wrote on January 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

Playing the race card? Okay, whatver. Yeah I would have preferred Sumlin too. Not because he is black but because of his success. Also wish the trustees would be objecting to Beckman, not because he is white but because he was not the best reasonable candidate available.

illiniart wrote on January 19, 2012 at 10:01 pm

We offered a contract to a black coach and we are not trying hard enough?  Are you kidding me?  Who appointed these trustees anyway...some guy who is in jail? 

OrcaIllini wrote on January 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm

No not some Guy in Jail, just another Illinois Politician going to Jail for 13 years. But still Our Trustees know nothing about the University or running it. But thta's what we have.

PortlandIllini wrote on January 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Okay,  let me get this straight.   Two trustees voted against hiring a football coach because the coach's skin color did not match theirs?    Remember that Martin Luther King looked forward to the day when we could judge a man by the content of his character,  not the color of his skin.   How ironic that these two black trustees would  judge a coach by his skin color,  not his qualifications.

1 illinifan wrote on January 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

Exactly! Maybe this is used only when it benifits.

illini82 wrote on January 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm

We interviewed 2 black coaches. One was offered and turned us down: Sumlin. Yet MT wasn't "proactive enough"?

And who's being racist when the trustees vote against a man (Beckman) because only of his race or skin color? Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!!

The job of the AD is to find the best candidate available regardless of race who he deems will have the best chance of success. For the record I too am lukewarm on Beckman but geesh to pull the race card?

Get over yourselves trustees! It's not about you.


oandb wrote on January 19, 2012 at 11:01 pm

"sad Irony." how did this genius get to be a trustee? what a joke.

Green Shirt wrote on January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

Essentially, Mr. Oliver and Mr. Montgomery voted against Tim Beckman because of his race.  I think there is a word for that.

cevans wrote on January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

Green this statement couldnt agree more with you, what a joke I tell ya, these two idiots should be kicked off and find people that will look at the canidates strengths and skills instead of color


cevans wrote on January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

When hiring someone for a job, the skin color of that person should be your primary reason for them to get hired????!!!!!!!???????............................WOW, are you serious Im really sad that the U of I has an IDIOT on the board that makes comments like this and then votes against it for that reason, talk about being Racist. Maybe Beckman should pull the race card and say to these to MORONS that they are voting against them because he was white and give these people a taste of their own medicince. Really sad that people have to look at skin color when it comes to making a hire and to me thats what seems to happen alot anymore and the whole race card thing is really getting out of hand in this country...........kind of sad. 

drslm wrote on January 20, 2012 at 8:01 am

Racism has no place on the Board of Trustees. I call for the immediate resignation of Oliver and Montgomery.

1 illinifan wrote on January 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

Thank you! Was just going to write this myself. Another embarrassing low class situation for the University.

heyoka99 wrote on January 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

I agree that we should hire the most qualified candidate. I just don't think that over the last 50 years the most qualified candidate has always been some white guy. (Those two trustees had to know that they weren't going to take the job away from Beckman. They were making a political statement. So maybe we could tamp down the outrage and put this in perspective?)

1 illinifan wrote on January 20, 2012 at 10:01 am

I think the uproar is over how it was done, at least for me. There is a way with class to address this issue without making everyone thinking racism from both sides and succeed assuming that the coach is the most qualified. Think about the way these two have acted, how will it affect future problems? Presently we have Law and she should be let go, why? Not because of the color of her skin but because of the job she has done. Now, there will be fear of letting a coach go because of race, not because of performance and that is just wrong.

Personally I just want top 10 program coach's, period. Could care less about race.

rocko wrote on January 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

I wonder what kind of uproar we would see if we had hired a black guy and 2 white Trustees voted against him because he wasn't white.

townsend1306 wrote on January 20, 2012 at 12:01 pm

" playing the race card " from peter E Lets put it like this! Illnois has never and was not going to hirier a black coach and if they did offer a contract it was small. and you wonder why you can't go into Chicago don't what the U of I did to Jimmy Collins born and raised in Chambana so don't get me

started how how Illnois is ! So peter E I think you should keep your mouth close cause you don't no anything ! 

burkejo wrote on January 20, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Really, tosnsend? I think asking for proper english is too much, but it's hard to take you seriously when you write so poorly. That last sentence is so bad, the fact that you misspell Illinois isn't even the worst mistake you made. Enough on your grammar though. The truth is, these were ignorant comments from people put in positions based on their ability to make educated decisions on what is best for the University. What they have done is borderline embarrassing. They should both be removed from their positions and replaced with someone who can represent the University with a little more class.

eugene wrote on January 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

townsend - you must be educated and get your facts straight before spouting off here. Jimmy Collins was not born and raised in Chambana, he was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. As for the past 50 years of hires, I have no idea who the best candidate was for every opening. I do know that Sumlin was made an offer and he turned it down to coach in the SEC. Not a hard decision for a high profile candidate, coach in the best conference or the second or third best conference. The trustees have no right stating that the next coach must be black. Every time that the UI hires a coach it must take the best candidate, no matter what race, end of story. Go Illini! 

tonyjb37 wrote on January 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm
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Lawrence you and your little side kick should go cry to someone who cares. You are not owed anything in life so get over the past. Move on.

tonyjb37 wrote on January 20, 2012 at 11:01 pm
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Lawerce, you and James need to be educated start with a history book.


arancione wrote on January 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

Well the @#$% will hit the fan when MT fires Jolette.

Illini_Fan_78 wrote on January 22, 2012 at 1:01 am


ArchIllini wrote on January 23, 2012 at 10:01 am

What hypocrites.  They got rid of the chief because that was racist, yet these racists actions by these two trustees are tolerated?