Dec. 20, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois football coach Tim Beckman announced today the addition of Mike Ward and Alex Golesh to the Fighting Illini football coaching staff as assistant coaches. Both Ward and Golesh were on Beckman's staff at Toledo. Golesh will serve as the recruiting coordinator, while the position responsibilities for both he and Ward will be announced at a later date.
"I am very pleased to have Mike Ward and Alex Golesh join our Fighting Illini football staff," Beckman said. "Mike and Alex have both been very productive members of my staff at Toledo, and I know they'll be a great addition here at Illinois. Coach Ward and I began working together at Bowling Green and I first began working with Coach Golesh when he was a student assistant at Ohio State and then later as a graduate assistant Oklahoma State before he joined our staff at Toledo. Both men are tireless recruiters and will begin working here immediately."
Ward spent the last three years as Assistant Head Coach and co-Defensive Coordinator on Beckman's staff at Toledo and was instrumental in the rapid development of the Rockets' defense. The last two seasons, the Toledo defense ranked among the national leaders in turnovers forced and turnover margin. In 2010, the Rockets forced 34 turnovers, the fifth-highest takeaway total in the nation and 13 more than the previous season. That total included 20 interceptions, the eighth-most picks in the country. In 2011, Toledo forced 28 turnovers and had the third-best turnover margin in the nation (1.33).
The defensive turnaround helped propel Toledo to an 8-5 season and its first bowl appearance in five years in 2010, and an 8-4 season, a share of the MAC West Division title and a berth in the Military Bowl in 2011. Ward, who coached the linebackers, also helped guide five players to All-MAC honors the past two years.
Prior to going to Toledo, Ward spent 17 years as an assistant at Bowling Green, including five years working with Beckman (2000-04) and the final two as the Defensive Coordinator. He began as the program's strength coach from 1992-99 before coaching the defensive linemen from 2000-06 and serving as the defensive coordinator in 2007-08. From 2000-08, Ward coached one All-American, one Academic All-American and nine All-MAC performers. The Falcons had six winning seasons and played in three bowl games during that span.
Prior to becoming a Falcon, Ward was an assistant football coach and strength coach at his alma mater, Georgetown College, for two years. Ward earned a bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Georgetown in 1984. He later earned a graduate degree in secondary education from Georgetown. As a player at Georgetown, he earned second-team NAIA Division I All-America football honors as an offensive guard in 1983.
After completing his education at Georgetown, Ward was an assistant football coach at the University of Findlay for six years. He served as the linebacker coach and the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Oilers before leaving to join BGSU in 1992.
A Mansfield, Ohio, native, Ward attended Mansfield Lexington High School. He is certified by the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist. His colleagues in the MAC twice named him as the NSCA Professional of the Year. Ward and his wife Jody have two children, Michaela (14) and Addison (10).
Golesh was at Toledo for the last three years on Beckman's staff, serving as both the tight ends coach and the recruiting coordinator. Golesh aided the UT program in securing the No. 1 recruiting class in the Mid-American Conference for two-straight years. The 2010 UT class was No. 1 according to Rivals.com, while both Rivals and Scout.com rated the 2011 class No. 1.
Golesh's tight ends served as key blockers in a Rocket rushing attack that ranked No. 3 in the MAC in both 2010 and 2011. In 2009, Golesh coached the running backs at Toledo, helping senior running back DaJuane Collins earn third-team All-MAC honors.
Prior to going to Toledo, Golesh spent three seasons as a graduate assistant, two at Northern Illinois (2006-07) and one at Oklahoma State. Golesh worked with the outside linebackers at Oklahoma State in 2008, helping the Cowboys to a 9-4 record and a berth in the Holiday Bowl. At NIU, Golesh worked for one season assisting with the secondary and one season with the offensive line, helping the Huskies make the 2006 Poinsettia Bowl.
Golesh got his start in the coaching business as a student assistant coach while attending Ohio State as an undergraduate. He spent two-and-a-half years aiding the Buckeyes' defensive coaches, with responsibilities that included working with the defensive line and helping to break down film. During his time at Ohio State, the Buckeyes claimed the 2005 Big Ten Championship and went on to earn a victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Notre Dame. OSU also posted a win in the 2004 Alamo Bowl over Oklahoma State. Golesh also spent one year as a defensive line coach in a first-year football program at newly opened Westerville Central High School.
Golesh was born in Moscow, Russia, but grew up in Brooklyn, NY and Dublin, Ohio, where he was a three-year letterwinner in football at Dublin Scioto High School. He earned a bachelor's degree in education from Ohio State in 2006. He and his wife Alexis had a baby girl, Corbin, in May of 2011.
Ward and Golesh join Keith Gilmore on Beckman's staff at Illinois. More additions to the coaching staff are expected in the coming weeks.
THE WARD FILE
Coaching Experience 2012- Illinois (Assistant Coach) 2009-11 Toledo (Assistant Head Coach / Co-Defensive Coordinator / Linebackers) 2007-08 Bowling Green (Defensive Coordinator) 2000-06 Bowling Green (Defensive Line) 1992-99 Bowling Green (Strength and Conditioning Coach) 1986-91 Findlay (Linebackers / Strength and Conditioning Coach) 1984-85 Georgetown College (Assistant Coach / Strength and Conditioning Coach)
Hometown: Mansfield, Ohio Education: Bachelor's degree in health and physical education from Georgetown, 1984, master's degree in secondary education from Georgetown, 1986 Family: Wife, Jody; Daughters, Michaela and Addison
THE GOLESH FILE
Coaching Experience 2012- Illinois (Assistant Coach / Recruiting Coordinator) 2010-11 Toledo (Tight Ends / Recruiting Coordinator) 2009 Toledo (Running Backs / Recruiting Coordinator) 2008 Oklahoma State (Graduate Assistant) 2006-07 Northern Illinois (Graduate Assistant)
Hometown: Dublin, Ohio Education: Bachelor's in Education from Ohio State, 2006 Family: Wife, Alexis; Daughter, Corbin