On Friday, Mike Thomas stunned everyone when he fired Tim Beckman. His reasoning wasn't the team's 12-25 (4-20) record over the past three seasons or the embarrassing PR gaffes that occurred all too frequently, but rather it was the preliminary findings of a third-party investigation into the football program.
The Beckman era is officially over, but the question still remains--should Mike Thomas be allowed to hire the next head football coach? Here's what the TCR writers had to say about the situation:
Vainisi: Hell no. Look, I think Mike Thomas has done some really good things during his tenure at Illinois, but hiring coaches is NOT one of his strong suits. But let's put that aside for just a moment. What coach in their right mind would even entertain the idea of working for him under the current circumstances? The job security would be non-existent. At this point, it's probably only a matter of time until Thomas is fired. Let's just hope that it's sooner rather than later so we can move on from this mess
Primiano: No. He's cooked.
Cain: The football program isn't the only one with players, both past and present, accusing coaches of mistreatment. That's under Thomas' watch, and his job is to provide a winning culture with coaches that can help student-athletes succeed both on and off the field in a safe environment. Investigations have shown there was player mistreatment in regards to physical health. He should be gone.
Smith: Should he? Probably not. He's done some good things for the university in terms of marketing and other small things, but the two scandals outweigh those things. Will he? Probably. That's because everything above Thomas is a mess. Who's there to fire him? With so much change going on at the top, I think Thomas will make the next hire, and if that coach is successful he will stay. Thomas will make it through this season and hire the next coach.
Vallese: To put it simply, no. I don’t see how Thomas, who’s time as AD in Champaign has been full of losing, scandals, and investigations, can be allowed to make the next hire. There would just be so many questions from every angle. If you’re a prospective coach looking to get hired by Thomas, how comfortable would you feel about the job security of your AD? If you’re the fanbase, how could you feel confident in Thomas being able to find a qualitative candidate? If you’re the president or chancellor of the university, how could you allow someone who’s already on his last leg to make a selection that will affect Illinois for years to come? It seems like there will unfortunately be no good end to this due to the shroud of negativity already surrounding Mike Thomas.
Repplinger: No. Depending on what is revealed from the full investigation (which is still being conducted), Thomas should not be involved with any major decisions regarding coaching or staff changes. Pending the results of the entire investigation, appropriate action should be taken.