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Illinois makes it official: Tim Beckman will return for 2015 season

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Confirming what we had been hearing, Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas has now officially announced that Tim Beckman will return for the 2015 season through a statement from the university.

"It was important to see improvement in our football program this season. Over the last month, we have won three of our last five games, including a pair of Big Ten wins over teams (Minnesota and Penn State) who are headed to the postseason. Our student-athletes have played their best football of the season down the stretch of a tough schedule that included nine bowl-eligible opponents."

"It’s my expectation that with the upcoming bowl and another offseason of development, that Tim’s continued leadership will keep Fighting Illini football moving forward and even more competitive in the conference and nationally.” athletic director Mike Thomas explained.

Beckman is 12-24 overall at Illinois, including a 4-20 conference mark, but it's impossible to deny that the Illini have shown continued improvement over the course of the 2014 season, knocking off Minnesota a few weeks ago, and then in-state rival Northwestern on Saturday.

The win over the Wildcats marked the sixth win for Beckman's program (6-6, 3-5), getting them to bowl eligible for the first time since 2011.

Next season Illinois' schedule is highlighted with trips to North Carolina, Iowa, Penn State, and Minnesota while the Fighting Illini will get Nebraska (and their new head coach), Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Northwestern at home.