CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced the hiring of Steve Clinkscale, Billy Gonzales and Tim Salem as assistant football coaches Friday. Gonzales will serve as co-offensive coordinator and Salem will be the Illini's running backs coach and special teams coordinator.
Assignments for the previously announced offensive assistant coaches have been decided,with Chris Beatty serving as co-offensive coordinator, Luke Butkus coaching the offensive line and Alex Golesh guiding the tight ends and specialists, while also serving as recruiting coordinator. Defensive coaching assignments will be announced at a later date.
"Steve brings a great work ethic to the Illini football program," Beckman said. "He's a terrific mentor of young men and an excellent young coach who pushes his players to be the best they can be. 'Clink' worked with our secondary at Toledo, coached an All-MAC player in Dez Marrow and was in charge of coaching All-American punt and kickoff returner Eric Page.
"Billy Gonzales has been a part of two national championship teams and coached in another national championship game earlier this week, and he brings a great reputation to the Fighting Illini. He has coached in four BCS games and has been associated with great success wherever he has been. I worked with Billy at Bowling Green on Urban Meyer'sstaff. He is an outstanding coach and a terrific person. He and Chris Beatty will do a great job running our offense.
"Tim Salem is a very experienced coach who has a great reputation around the nation. He has experience as an offensivecoordinator and did an exceptional job in coordinating special teams at Central Florida. He has a Big Ten background as a coach at Ohio State and Purdue, as well as a quarterback at Minnesota, where his father, Joe, coached. Tim also has terrific recruiting contacts in several areas of the nation."
Clinkscale helped Toledo's defense become a national leader in takeaways as the Rockets ranked fifth in turnovers gained in 2010 and 16th in 2011. UT also ranked third in the nation in turnover margin and 29th in the Football Bowl Subdivision in third-down defense in 2011. In 2010, Toledo grabbed 20 interceptions, the eighth-most in the country. On special teams, Clinkscale guided the Rockets to a No. 17 national ranking in punt return average in 2011 and a No. 11 ranking in kickoff return average. He also mentored All-American return man Eric Page, who returned three kickoffs for touchdowns in 2010 and added a kickoff return and a punt return for touchdowns in 2011.
Gonzales most recently served as passing-game coordinator and receivers coach at LSU, helping the Tigers to a runner-up finish in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game on Jan. 9. He spent two years at LSU after coaching receivers for five years at Florida, where he helped the Gators to a pair of national championships in 2006 and 2008. In 2011, the Tigers ranked 17th in the nation in scoring offense (35.71 points per game) and 24th in passing efficiency (147.53) as quarterbackJarrett Lee led the SEC with a 152.04 passer rating. Under Gonzales' tutelage, the LSU passing game completed 62.0 percent of its attempts for 2,135 yardswhile accounting for 21 touchdowns with only five interceptions in 2011. In his five seasons in Gainesville, Gonzales sent seven players to the NFL Draft, including 2009 first-round selection Percy Harvin and Chad Jackson, a second-round pick in 2007. He coached alongside Urban Meyer at Florida, Utah and Bowling Green, coaching receivers at Utah and Bowling Green.
Salem comes to Illinois after eight years at Central Florida, including the last three as special teams coordinator and tight ends coach. Prior to that, he was UCF's offensive coordinator for five years. Under Salem's guidance, the Knights have ranked in the top five nationally in kickoff return average, standing third in 2011 and first in 2010. UCF also ranked in the top 10 nationally in kickoff return defense the past three seasons, finishing ninth in 2011, third in 2010 and 10th in 2009. Salem also oversaw some of the most prolific offenses in Knight history as offensive coordinator from 2004-08, guiding UCF to a 10-win season, a Conference USA championship and a berth in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in 2007. That year, he helped running back Kevin Smith earn consensus All-America honors by rushing for 2,567 yards - the second-most yards in a season in FBS history - and a national-best 29 rushing touchdowns. Salem helped the Knights to a C-USA East Division title and berth in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in 2005 as Smith was named the league's freshman of the year and receivers Brandon Marshall and Mike Sims-Walker combined for 2,050 yards and 20 touchdowns. Prior to his time at UCF, Salem also served as offensive coordinator at Eastern Michigan (2003), Purdue (1991-96) and Phoenix College (1987-88). He was quarterbacks coach at Ohio State from 1997-2000.