Toledo names Campbell to replace Beckman

Toledo has hired offensive coordinator Matt Campbell as its new coach.

It's the first head coaching job for the 32-year-old Campbell who was named the school's interim on Friday after Tim Beckman announced he was leaving for Illinois.

Toledo officials moved quickly to hire Campbell, though, announcing the move Monday night after Beckman said last week that he wanted Campbell to join him with the Illini.

At a news conference announcing his hiring, Campbell called the position "an opportunity of a lifetime," noting his morning had started in Chicago.

"But the winds of change quickly brought me back," he said, "and there's no place I'd rather be than right here right now with this group of people."

Campbell has been at Toledo the past three seasons and before that had coached at Bowling Green and Mount Union.

He said being a head coach has always been his "golden dream" and that he looks forward to the ultimate goal of bringing the Mid-American Conference championship back to Toledo in 2012.

He said he expected to be questioned due to his young age, telling reporters "age is just a number ... I've been a leader of men my whole life."

The Rockets averaged 42 points per game this season, best in the MAC and eighth nationally. In fact, they twice topped 60 points this season.

Beckman was 21-16 in three seasons. The Rockets went 8-4 this year and will play in the Military Bowl against Air Force (7-5).

Campbell coached the offensive line at Bowling Green for two seasons before moving to Toledo, where he also coached the line. Before that, he spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator and line coach at Mount Union, winning consecutive Division III championships with the Purple Raiders.

Announcing the hiring, athletic director Mike O'Brien called Campbell "a true champion."

"Matt Campbell epitomizes what being a Rocket is all about," he said. "That is taking care of business in the classroom, making good decisions socially and competing for championships on the football field."

Campbell, a native of Massillon, Ohio, played on three national championship teams at Mount Union in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He was twice named the Ohio Athletic Conference's best defensive lineman.

His father was a high school football coach in northeast Ohio.

Beckman on Friday called Campbell one of the brightest young minds in college football, and perhaps that's fitting at Toledo, where there has been a pretty good history of football coaches.

Gary Pinkel spent 10 years with the Rockets before going to Missouri. He replaced Nick Saban, who is now at Alabama, by way of Michigan State, LSU and the NFL's Miami Dolphins.

And now, Beckman is on to the Big Ten.