Wisconsin Alum will Coach Outside Linebackers for Fighting Illini
Illini Return Home Looking to End Skid
The Illini Travel Out West to Face the Sun Devils on Saturday Night
Illini will open 123rd football season on Saturday at 11 am CT
Numerous DIA Staff Members Participate, Volunteer on Race Day
Photos from Illinois football signing day on Feb. 1, 2012. (Mark Jones and Derek Neal)
Tim Salem is in his third season at Illinois as the special teams coordinator. He also coached running backs in 2012 and 2013. He was hired in January 2012 as part of Tim Beckman's first staff at Illinois.
Salem oversaw dramatic improvements in the Illini's punt return unit in 2013, as Illinois ranked 16th in the nation after standing 118th in 2012. Return man V'Angelo Bentley became the first Illini to return both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns in the same season, and he ranked sixth nationally in punt return average with 15.8 yards per return.
Salem also guided a group of running backs that featured Josh Ferguson, who broke the school record for receiving yards by a running back in a season with 535 and also led the Illini with 11 total touchdowns. Salem came to Illinois from UCF, where he helped guide the Knights to four bowls in eight seasons. Most recently, he spent three seasons as the Knights' tight ends coach and special teams coordinator. Salem served the previous five years as UCF's offensive coordinator.
With Salem leading the way in 2011, UCF once again boasted one of the top kickoff return units in the nation. The Knights jumped into the top five thanks in large part to true freshman Rannell Hall, who was the lone freshman to earn first-team All-Conference USA honors. In fact, Hall became the third Knight in the last four years to serve as the All-C-USA first-team kick returner (Joe Burnett in 2008, Quincy McDuffie in 2010).
UCF's special teams units also excelled in 2010, propelling the Knights to the top season in program history. UCF went 11-3, won seven games in C-USA play, claimed the league title and defeated Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. The Knights led the nation in kickoff returns, ranked third in kickoff return defense and 12th in punt returns to rank as the No. 2 overall special teams unit in the country. McDuffie ranked second nationally in kickoff returns, while Josh Robinson was eighth in punt returns. McDuffie garnered All-C-USA first team honors for his special teams play, while Robinson was a second-team pick.
UCF's special teams units were a strength in 2009, as well. The Knights ranked fifth nationally in punt return defense, 10th in kickoff return defense and 13th in kickoff returns.
As offensive coordinator in 2007, Salem guided UCF to one of the best seasons in program history. Behind a high-powered offense, the Knights won 10 contests, claimed the C-USA title for the first time and participated in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. UCF broke several school records in 2007, including points (502), touchdowns (62) and rushing yards (3,287). The Knights averaged 35.86 points per game, which ranked 17th nationally.
Salem also served as the program's running backs coach in 2007, guiding Kevin Smith to one of the best seasons in college football history. The consensus All-America tailback and C-USA Co-Offensive Player of the Year rushed for 2,567 yards, second-most in a season in NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision history, and scored a nation-best 29 rushing touchdowns. Smith was selected by Detroit in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
In 2006, Salem coached UCF's receivers while serving as offensive coordinator, and the Knights ranked 30th nationally in passing offense (233.8 ypg) and 34th in total offense (373.2 ypg). Receiver Mike Sims-Walker thrived in Salem's system, garnering first-team All-C-USA honors after averaging 7.5 receptions, third-most in the country. Sims-Walker was selected by Jacksonville in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Several Knights posted impressive campaigns in Salem's offense during the 2005 campaign, in which the Knights won the C-USA East Division championship and participated in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Smith was named the league's freshman of the year, while receivers Brandon Marshall and Sims-Walker combined for 2,050 yards and 20 touchdowns.
Prior to working at UCF, Salem was the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and kicking coach at Eastern Michigan in 2003, where he mentored Lou Groza Award finalist Andrew Wellock.
From 1997-00, Salem was the quarterbacks coach at Ohio State, where he coached Joe Germaine to the 1998 Big Ten Player of the Year honor. Germaine threw for more than 300 yards in 10 games that season, compiling 3,330 yards and 25 touchdowns with only seven interceptions while leading OSU to an 11-1 record. Salem also worked at Purdue for six seasons as the quarterbacks coach, while also serving as the offensive coordinator for three years. The Boilermakers led the Big Ten in rushing in 1995. Prior to Purdue, Salem spent two years at Colorado State (1989-90) as the running backs and special teams assistant coach and two seasons at Phoenix College (1987-88) as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks coach and assistant athletic director.
A 1985 graduate of Arizona State, Salem began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater for two seasons. Salem began his collegiate playing career at Minnesota, where he broke the Big Ten record for consecutive pass completions in 1980, before transferring to Arizona State for the 1983-84 seasons. Salem is a native of Minneapolis, Minn., and starred at the prep level at St. Thomas Academy. His father, Joe, was the head football coach at Minnesota from 1979-84. Salem and his wife, Wendy, have three children: sons, Taylor and Landan, and daughter, Kylan.
Updated July 2014