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Beckman will be back as Illinois coach

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Illinois coach Tim Beckman will be back in 2014 after a second consecutive losing season.

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Athletic director Mike Thomas confirmed the decision Monday through a spokesman.

The Illini finished 4-8 (1-7 Big Ten) in Beckman's second season at Illinois, and lost their finale 37-34 on Saturday to Northwestern. He faced speculation about his job security through much of the season, much as he had a year earlier when Illinois went 2-12.

Illinois spokesman Kent Brown said there hadn't been any doubt that Beckman would return for 2014.

''I don't think there was ever any consideration of making a change,'' Brown said. Thomas and Beckman were traveling Monday and not available for comment.

Beckman is finishing up the second year of a five-year contract that paid him $1.7 million this year and $9 million in all. After Saturday's loss, Beckman sounded as if he expected to keep his job.

''We're going to take this program one step forward each and every day and make it better,'' he said.

Defensive coordinator Tim Banks has been dogged by rumors that he won't be back. Illinois' defense was at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in most defensive categories. The team gave up 35.4 points a game (10th in the 12-team conference) and 481.5 yards (11th).

Banks said after the game that he hadn't given much thought to whether he'll be back.

''All I can do is the best that I can. I think that the things I have done as a coach for the past 18 years stand on their own,'' he said. ''No, to answer your question, I don't worry about that.''

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Follow David Mercer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/davidmercerap

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