Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Illinois Coach Looks to Press Box for Cheering Section Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Illinois Coach Looks to Press Box for Cheering Section Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic

Article excerpt

Illinois football coach Tim Beckman started his news conference Wednesday equating the final days on the recruiting trail to the final days of the season, both areas in which the team found late success.

That was a nice, fitting analogy as the Illini ended the regular season with consecutive victories to become bowl-eligible and Wednesday landed three on-the-fence recruits to help supply a top- 50 recruiting class on national signing day.

All good so far.

But when Beckman asked in no uncertain terms that the media abandon objectivity and jump aboard the Illini bandwagon, he showed more than a basic lack of knowledge about and respect for the job of the press. He overshadowed his own success story of the day and ultimately steered the narrative away from what he actually was trying to achieve: a slam-dunk positive news day.

"What are [recruits] reading?" he asked reporters directly. "What are you saying? ... The challenge is still, how important is the University of Illinois to you? It's very important to us. We can be successful if we're all in it together."

Part of a coach's strategy is controlling the message about his team. Understood.

But there are less blatant ways to go about it than an out-and- out directive to media to throw away objectivity. "Let's build this thing into a champion," he said, addressing reporters. "The more positive stuff you can talk about, the better off we all are."

He "challenged" the media the same way after beating Northwestern in the regular-season finale.

Beckman seems to have missed the point of why the media attend his games and news conferences. …

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