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UNC Hires Former Illinois Coach Fired Over Abuse

August 26, 2016

Update: Tim Beckman has stepped down as a volunteer assistant for UNC's football team, saying Thursday that he wished to avoid being a "further distraction" to the team or university.

"When I first learned yesterday that coach Larry Fedora had invited former Illinois coach Tim Beckman to serve as a volunteer with the football program, I was surprised and disappointed," Carol Folt, North Carolina's chancellor, said in a statement Thursday. "The decision for Mr. Beckman to withdraw from his volunteer position was the right thing to do, and moving forward, I don't expect this situation to recur. I continue to put a great deal of trust in Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham and coach Fedora to educate and develop our student-athletes and to ensure we meet the high standards we expect at Carolina."


A former football coach who was fired from the University of Illinois last year is now working as a "volunteer assistant" at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Champaign News-Gazette reported this week. "The guy didn't win enough games," Larry Fedora, UNC's head football coach, said Wednesday in response to criticism over hiring the fired coach. "That's all it was."

But, according to the University of Illinois, wins and losses had nothing to do with the university's decision to fire Tim Beckman as head football coach.

Beckman was fired after an external review into the coach's behavior. That investigation revealed that Beckman put his players at risk by deterring them from reporting injuries and pressuring them to continue playing when hurt. He was accused of coercing concussed athletes to remain on the field and repeatedly told players that he didn't "believe" in hamstring injuries. Athletes who previously played for the coach at the University of Toledo also claimed he had been abusive. Beckman denies the charges.

Fedora, UNC's coach, defended the addition to his staff, saying, "I don't believe everything I read."

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Jake New

Jake New, Reporter, covers student life and athletics for Inside Higher Ed. He joined the publication in June 2014 after writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education and covering education technology for eCampus News. For his work at the Chronicle covering legal disputes between academic publishers and critical librarians, he was awarded the David W. Miller Award for Young Journalists. His work has also appeared in the Bloomington Herald-Times, Indianapolis Monthly, Slate, PBS, Times Higher Education and the Australian. Jake studied journalism at Indiana University, where he was editor-in-chief of the Indiana Daily Student.

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