Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images(CHAPEL HILL, N.C.) — Former University of Illinois head football coach Tim Beckman has left his role as a volunteer assistant with the University of North Carolina program, saying he didn’t want to be a distraction.
Beckman was fired by Illinois days before last season amid allegations that he mistreated players, urging them to play through injuries and criticizing those who didn’t. Beckman had reportedly been working with UNC coach Larry Fedora to help scout and break down game film.
“I appreciate the opportunity Coach Fedora gave me to stay connected to the sport and be around one of the best staffs in the country,” Beckman said in a statement. “I do not wish to be a further distraction to the team or University and I will no longer serve as a volunteer at UNC. I wish Larry and the program nothing but success going forward.”
Beckman settled a wrongful termination lawsuit against the University of Illinois for $250,000 in April.
Fedora said in a statement Thursday that he brought Beckman on “to help a friend gain experience from our staff,” but that “after meeting with him today, we agreed his presence had become too much of a distraction.”
That statement came just one day after Fedora defended the decision to bring Beckman to UNC, saying “I know Tim. I know his side of the story also. So I was comfortable with it.”
Fedora and Beckman worked together at Oklahoma State University in 2007.
UNC Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham said Thursday that “Coach Fedora’s interest was in helping a coaching colleague get back on his feet. We will learn from this and continue preparing for the season.”
The school’s chancellor Carol Folt was more outspoken, saying that when she learned of Beckman’s role with the team, “I was surprised and disappointed.” She also called Beckman’s decision to withdraw from the position “the right thing to do.”
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