Beatty out as Illinois football's co-offensive coordinator

More than a month after its season ended, the Illinois football team is making changes to its coaching staff. It was announced on Saturday that co-offensive coordinator Chris Beatty has been fired.

This comes just one year after Beatty was brought to Illinois from Vanderbilt, where he was the wide receivers and offensive recruiting coordinator. It was his first career offensive coordinating job and he was also the quarterbacks coach.

“Chris Beatty is an outstanding person and a good coach,” Illinois head coach Tim Beckman said in a statement. “His family will always be a part our Illini football family. I wish him the best as he moves forward with his career.”

Beatty was coaching players recruited by Ron Zook's coaching staff who may not have fit in his system. This perhaps can be attributed to Illinois' abysmal showing in 2012. The Illini finished 119th out of 120 NCAA teams in total offense and scoring offense.

The Illini looked dysfunctional and inept on offense, rarely threw the ball down the field and failed to effectively install the up-tempo spread offense the new coaching staff was expected to bring. 

Illinois was plagued by injuries to all five starting offensive linemen and quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase missed two games because of injuries. The new coaching staff hadn't necessarily inherited a team known as an offensive juggernaut at Illinois, either.

Beatty shared offensive coordinator duties with Billy Gonzalez, who is also wide receivers coach. Various reports have Gonzalez being stripped of his title as co-offensive coordinator and maintaining his job as receivers coach. That would leave the offensive coordinating position open. Illinois said a national search would begin immediately.

Beatty and Gonzalez spilt play-calling duties in 2012, with Beatty selecting the plays on first and second down and Gonzalez calling the plays on third down, a process that has drawn criticism. It prompted Beckman to say he'd get more involved in the offense after a 17-3 lost to Minnesota on Nov. 10.

The change will mark the fifth time since 2008 that Illinois has changed offensive coordinators: Beatty/Gonzalez (2012), Paul Petrino (2010-11), Mike Schultz (2009), Mike Locksley (2005-2008).

Jamal can be reached at and @JamalCollier.