This past Monday I was given the chance to interview our very own Head football coach, Tim Beckman about why he came to Toledo and what he plans on doing for this program and our community.
Marcus: I wanted to start things off a little differently here coach. I know you’ve answered a lot of questions about last weeks game but I wanted to give our readers more knowledge about you. I believe it’s important for our readers to get to know you better to become excited about the program once again. What was attractive about Toledo and why did you seize this opportunity?
Coach: Well first and foremost, I’m an Ohio guy. I was born in Akron, Ohio, and my father was with the Cleveland Browns and I went to high school here. I’ve been a lot of places because I was a coach’s son. But, just to be back, my wife’s from Findlay, to have an opportunity to come back and especially to a school that has a deep tradition that Toledo has, is just a chance in a lifetime. Toledo’s known for winning and they’re a great program. When Michael Brian called me up and asked me if I was interested, there was no question.
Marcus: No hesitation?
Coach: No hesitation. I get to be home. My family still lives in Strongsville, Ohio. My mother-in-law lives in Findlay, and my son is now attending Findlay University as well. We’re all home, and there’s something special about being home.
Marcus: Yes, its always good to come back home.
Marcus: One thing you may have noticed is that Tom Amstuz (former UT head coach) was a huge figure in Toledo. Toledo liked him a lot. Knowing that Toledo can have so much appreciation for someone, does that excite you? It seems like if you do your job, Toledo is going to have more then enough acceptance for you.
Coach: Oh no question. And what Tom Amstuz did for Toledo in being a player and a coach here, he’s won a bunch of games as a head coach and as a defensive coordinator. We butted heads with one another for seven years, I know a lot about this program just from the fact that I happened to coach at the rival school. And have the understanding that I knew this was a great program and was well aware that coach Amstuz made it a great program.
Marcus: One thing I’ve experienced, is I relate a lot of things in my personal life to what’s going on in sports. For example, I’ve just moved into my first place and I’ve got this great sense of ownership and I can set it up however I’d want. It can be clean or, if I get lazy, its going to get dirty. Did you get a sense of ownership and a feeling of a clean slate, knowing that you had full reigns over a new program and you could shape your house to be however you want it to be?
Coach: Oh no question. I think that we’ve made some changes, but we’ve kept the tradition rich with things going on. I’ve got the higher grade staff that’s been involved in nineteen national title games, either played in them or coached in them. I think we’re young, I think we’re energetic, we’ve been out in the community quite a bit. The players have taken heed on what I believe is important in the word student athlete, not just athlete. I think our academics have become tremendously better than what they were prior to, and we need to see that transplant onto the football field.
Marcus: And that’s one thing I think is really important, having the important people in place. Is that something you preach, that being a better person is going to translate onto the field?
Coach: No question. And, I’ve been lucky because I’ve been with coach Meyer (Florida head coach), coach Tressel (Ohio State head coach), and coach Gundy. They all have that similar thing, that it’s not all about winning. Winning’s important of course, but it’s about building a man. Those are the things that anybody that comes to our program from seventeen to twenty-three, twenty-four years old, however old they end up being, they’re going to learn how to do things right and portray the proper image and the Toledo name is upheld.
Marcus: One thing I’ve noticed in your press conferences, but not in a selfish way, is that you guys are determined to get back on a winning track. Your players said they would do whatever it takes to win. You even said yourself, we’ll throw it a hundred times if that’s what it takes to win. It really seems like they’ve bought into your message. That’s one thing that I noticed last year, the students’ lack of interest in the football team. Do you think your message is going to bring the students back in?
Coach: I hope so! I’ll tell you I’ll do whatever I can to bring the students in here. You know that.
Marcus: Even crazy promotions?
Coach: Yes, any crazy promotions, anything that I need to do. I’ve already spoken to the fraternity council, I’ve been to student government as well. The places that I’ve been have been so supported by the student body that it really becomes your twelfth man. And when we win a football game, we’re going to celebrate with our fans. It’s not like when we win were going to run into the locker room and we’re going to go hide somewhere. Because, we know it wasn’t just won by us, it was won by the tradition that has been here and the student body and the fans we have here.
And what a great opportunity, we’re playing Colorado in the Glass Bowl on ESPN at 9′o clock and no one else is on the TV but us. We can show what this university is about, to show the rest of the nation that in this hard economic time, hey we’re still supporting what we believe in and that’s the educational process here and the opportunity that a college brings to you.
Marcus: With your first three games you guys have Purdue, Colorado and Ohio State. It’s not exactly a friendly schedule. Do you think that is going to gear you up for the MAC?
Coach: I hope so. We’re playing against people that are well known teams in their leagues. Purdue you know, two years prior to now they were a pretty good team. Colorado was really good two years ago, and of course we all know about Ohio State. It just gets our players prepared to play really two road games, to play on the road on the MAC and at home against such a great program.
If you have any questions you would like me to ask Coach Beckman please feel free to leave a comment below and I will do my best to ask him next week.