Former Western Michigan Head Coach to Join Tim Beckman's Staff
Illini will open 123rd football season on Saturday at 11 am CT
Pre-Spring Football Notes
New Coaching Staff Meets with Media
Former Cincinnati Co-Coordinator Chosen to Lead Illini Defense
Billy Gonzales spent once season at Illinois as as the wide receivers coach. He was hired in January 2012 as part of Tim Beckman's first staff at Illinois and served as co-offensive coordinator in addition to coaching the receivers during his only season in Champaign-Urbana.
Gonzales, who has been part of two national championship teams, spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons as LSU's passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach, helping the Tigers reach the 2012 BCS National Championship Game. Prior to joining the LSU staff, Gonzales spent five years coaching the wide receivers at Florida, where he helped the Gators to national titles in 2006 and 2008.
As LSU's passing game coordinator, Gonzales assisted offensive coordinator Greg Studrawa and quarterbacks coach Steve Kragthorpe with developing strategies in the Tiger passing attack.
Gonzales' impact on the passing game was evident in 2011 with the development of LSU's leading receiver Rueben Randle (53 rec., 917 yards, 8 TDs), who earned first-team All-SEC honors, and the emergence of true-freshman Odell Beckham Jr., who ranked second on the team with 41 receptions for 475 yards and a pair of touchdowns to earn freshman All-SEC accolades.
Gonzales joined the Tigers in December of 2009, helping LSU prepare for its Capital One Bowl contest against Penn State. Gonzales spent his first full season with the Tigers in 2010, where he continued to coach Russell Shepard in his transition from quarterback to wide receiver while also grooming Randle to become LSU's primary target in 2011.
Prior to his arrival in Baton Rouge, Gonzales coached under Urban Meyer at three different schools - Bowling Green, Utah and Florida - since 2001. Gonzales coached for two years at Bowling Green under Meyer and alongside current Illinois head coach Tim Beckman before moving on with Meyer to Utah for the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Gonzales arrived at Florida in 2005 and during his five years with the Gators, he sent seven players to the NFL Draft, including 2009 first-round pick Percy Harvin and Chad Jackson, a second-round selection by the New England Patriots in 2007.
From 2005 to 2009, Florida produced seven All-SEC wide receivers, including first-team selections Jackson (2005), Dallas Baker (2006), Harvin (2007, '08) and Brandon James (2008), and second-team honorees Cornelius Ingram (2007) and Riley Cooper (2009).
In two years at Utah, Gonzales helped the Utes to a 22-2 overall mark and a pair of bowl victories, including a 35-7 win over Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. Utah averaged 499.8 yards and 45.3 points per game in 2004, both of which ranked No. 3 in the nation that year. Three Utes receivers earned first-team All-Mountain West honors under Gonzales' tuteledge, TE Ben Moa (2003), WR Paris Warren (2003) and WR Steve Savoy (2004).
In addition to his role as Utah's wide receivers coach, Gonzales also served as the special teams coordinator for the Utes. In 2003, Utah led the nation in kickoff returns with a 28.2 average. The Utes also ranked third in the nation in net punting (40.8 yards) and fifth in the country in kickoff returns (26.2) in 2004.
Gonzales spent 2001 and 2002 at Bowling Green, serving as wide receivers coach and co-recruiting coordinator. The Falcons were 17-6 in his two years at the school and in 2002, Bowling Green ranked No. 3 in the nation in scoring, averaging 48.0 points per game. The Falcons also averaged 448.9 yards per game in 2002, a figure that ranked No. 9 nationally. WR Robert Redd was an All-MAC selection in both 2001 and '02 and finshed his career as the school's all-time leader in receptions.
Gonzales broke into full-time coaching at the Division I level in 1997 at Kent State, spending four years with the Golden Flashes. He coached running backs in 1997, helping RB Astron Whatley become a three-time All-MAC selectioin, before moving to wide receivers for the next three years and tutoring Eugene Baker, Kent State's all-time leading receiver and a third-team All-American in 1997. Gonzales coached for two years as a graduate assistant at Kent State from 1995-96, where he received his master's degree in sports administration.
Gonzales' first coaching job came in 1994 at MacMurray (Ill.) as the wide receivers coach.
A four-year letterwinner at Colorado State and a two-year starter at wide receiver, Gonzales helped the Rams to a 9-4 record in 1990 and a win over Oregon in the Freedom Bowl that year. Gonzales is a 1994 graduate of Colorado State University.
Gonzales and his wife, Julie, have two children, Cole and Caylynn.
THE GONZALES FILE