Illinois is zeroing in on Toledo football coach Tim Beckman in its search to replace Ron Zook, multiple sources told the Tribune on Thursday.

Beckman is meeting with his Toledo staff on Thursday morning, a source said. Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas did not immediately return a call from the Tribune.

Beckman is scheduled to hold a news conference Thursday afternoon where he planned to talk about the team's upcoming Military Bowl against Air Force.

Beckman is 21-16 in three years at Toledo, including 14-2 in the Mid-American Conference over the last two seasons.

According to USA Today's coaching salary database, Beckman makes only about $400,000. It's thought Illinois is willing to pay up to $2 million, but Beckman may not make that leap from his current salary.

The 46-year-old Ohio native has had coaching stops at Auburn, Western Carolina, Elon, Ohio State and Oklahoma State, where he served as defensive coordinator in 2007 and 2008.

When Toledo hired him in 2008, Beckman listed Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer as two of his mentors.

He also learned from his father, Dave, who coached at Iowa and for the Cleveland Browns and San Diego Chargers.
Illinois zeroing in on Toledo's Beckman to replace Zook -