UT Vice President and Athletic Director Mike O’Brien announced today that Football Offensive Coordinator Matt Campbell will serve as the Rockets’ interim head coach, replacing Tim Beckman, who will be introduced as the new head coach at the University of Illinois today.O’Brien said that Campbell will lead the Rockets at the Military Bowl vs. Air Force Dec. 28, adding that a national search for Beckman’s permanent replacement will begin as soon as possible.
“We wish Coach Beckman and his family the very best in their new life at the University of Illinois,” O’Brien said. “Tim did an outstanding job in his three years with the Rockets. He built a solid foundation based on discipline and personal accountability, and he leaves our football program in very good shape for our next head coach.
“In the meantime, we have a very important bowl game coming up on Dec. 28, and we are pleased that Matt Campbell will be leading our team on an interim basis and serving as our head coach for the game vs. Air Force. Matt has done a great job guiding our offense the past three years, and we look forward to his leadership in what should be an exciting game in our nation’s capital.”
Beckman, 46, was 21-16 in three seasons with the Rockets, 17-7 in Mid-American Conference play. He led Toledo to an 8-5 record in 2010, as well as a berth in the 2010 Little Caesars Bowl in Detroit, UT’s first bowl since 2005. This past season, the Rockets went 8-4, 7-1 in MAC play, and earned their second consecutive bowl trip.
Campbell, 32, is in his third season as the Rockets’ offensive coordinator, and also is responsible for coaching the offensive line. Under Campbell’s guidance, the Rockets rank eighth in the nation in total offense (493.2) and scoring offense (42.3) this season, as well as third in fewest turnovers (12). He also mentored an offensive line that ranks sixth in the nation with just nine sacks allowed this season. The Rockets’ offense features one of the most exciting players in the country, junior wide receiver Eric Page. Page ranks third in the nation in receptions with 112 and is a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award as the nation’s most versatile player. He made first-team All-MAC at three positions: wide receiver, punt returner and kickoff returner.
Campbell has earned national attention for his recruiting. Rivals.com named him a “top recruiter” in 2011. Campbell was one of nine coaches from non-automatic qualifying schools in the Bowl Championship Series to make the list and the only one from the Mid-American Conference. Toledo’s 2011 recruiting class was ranked No. 1 in the MAC by both Scout.com and Rivals.com.
Prior to coaching at UT, Campbell served as an assistant coach at Bowling Green for two seasons, one as the offensive line coach (2007) and one as the offensive line coach/running game coordinator (2008). He began his coaching career as the offensive graduate assistant at Bowling Green in 2003 and 2004. He then spent two years as the offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Mount Union.
The 2002 graduate of Mount Union was a member of five national championship teams as a coach and player for the Purple Raiders. He was a two-time first-team All-American and was voted as the Ohio Athletic Conference’s Best Defensive Lineman in 2001 and 2002. He was a vital member of three Mount Union teams that won national titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002. During his career at the school, Campbell earned CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. In his final two years of his stay at Mount Union, Campbell was the offensive coordinator on a team that won back-to-back national titles.
He and his wife, Erica, have two daughters, Katelyn, 3, and Isabella, 2.