Kurt Beathard recently completed his second season on the
Illini staff as outside receivers coach after four seasons as
Eastern Kentucky's offense coordinator.
During the 2008 season, the Illini saw its most production in
the passing game since the 2002 season. In 2007, Beathard
helped guide the Illini passing offense to more touchdowns,
completions and yards per game than in 2006. One of his
greatest works has been the conversion of tight end Jeff
Cumberland to an outside receiver. After the switch,
Cumberland caught 11 passes for 209 yards and two
touchdowns, including a four-catch, 131-yard performance
with a score against Northwestern.
The native of Manhattan Beach, Calif., helped guide the
Colonels to single-season program records in completions
(234), passing attempts (413) and passing yards (3,119) in
2005 while EKU led the OVC in scoring (31.5 ppg), total
offense (412.3 ypg) and pass offense (283.5 ypg). In seven
of the final eight games in 2006, the Colonels scored at least
30 points, including a season-high 52 in the homecoming
win over Tennessee Tech.
Four players went on to earn 2005 first team All-OVC honors
under Beathard's watch, including quarterback Josh Greco
and wide receiver Andre Ralston. Greco broke numerous
program records last year to earn OVC Offensive Player of the
Year honors, while Ralston became EKU's all-time leader in
receptions (165) and receiving yards (3,095).
In his first season at Eastern Kentucky in 2003, Beathard
directed the offensive unit to an impressive 391.4 yards per
game, including 241.4 yards passing per game. The Colonels
ended the year ranked first in the OVC in total offense as well
as second in pass efficiency with a rating of 131.7.
Beathard went to Eastern after one year at Bucknell, where
he served as the offensive coordinator. Prior to his stint with
the Bison, Beathard spent six seasons as the offensive
coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Western Carolina. He
was a key component in running back Brad Hoover, now with
the Carolina Panthers, breaking the single-season rushing
record with 1,663 yards in 1998.
Also while at Western Carolina, Beathard coached David
Rivers to the single-game passing yardage record in 2000,
as well as the single-season record for total yardage.
Beathard's high-powered Catamount offense saw two
receivers go over 1,000 yards during the 2000 campaign.
Beathard started his collegiate playing career at Cal Poly-
San Luis Obispo before transferring to Saddleback Junior
College for his sophomore season. He then moved on to
Towson State (now Towson) for the final three seasons of his
career, setting several school records along the way.
In his two-year stint at Towson, Beathard passed for 4,768
yards and 38 touchdowns. In a game against Lafayette,
Beathard was 40-of-51 passing for 466 yards and four
scores. His effort in the game still ranks among the top
passing performances in NCAA Division II history. His
leadership under center also helped lead the Tigers to the
1984 Division II playoffs.
After his collegiate career was over, Beathard was drafted by
the Baltimore Stars of the USFL in 1986 before moving on to
the Arena League's Washington Commandos in 1987.
Beathard's coaching career began as a student assistant at
Towson in the spring of 1987 before moving over to Catholic
University in Washington, D.C., for the 1988 campaign. He
then spent two seasons on the Louisville staff, as a graduate
assistant from 1989-90. Beathard has also served time at
James Madison, Bloomsburg, Colgate, University of the
Pacific and a second stint at Towson. As the secondary coach
for Towson in 1993, Beathard's unit led the nation in
interceptions and was ranked 14th in total defense. He was
inducted into the Towson Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.
Aside from his extensive knowledge and experience, football
runs in Beathard's genes. His father, Bobby, spent numerous
years as the general manager of the Washington Redskins
and San Diego Chargers. His brother, Jeff, is a scout for the
Beathard and his wife, Karen, have three daughters: LaRae,
Grace and Eva.