Fired Illinois coach Tim Beckman now a volunteer coach for North Carolina defense

— -- Tim Beckman, who was fired as the? Illinois?football coach last year following a school investigation that found he mistreated players, is now a volunteer coach on defense for? North Carolina, a school official confirmed Wednesday.

Beckman was fired by the Fighting Illini on Aug. 28, 2015, after the investigation concluded that the coach influenced medical decisions and pressured players to play hurt.

In April, Beckman settled a wrongful termination lawsuit against the school for $250,000.

Beckman has a working history with Tar Heels coach Larry Fedora, as both were assistant coaches on Oklahoma State's staff in 2007.

Speaking after Wednesday evening's practice, Fedora described the decision as helping a friend while also gaining Beckman's expertise as a former head coach and defensive coordinator.

"Let me make something clear so everybody understands: I'm the one that sets the expectations on our culture and how our student-athletes are treated," Fedora said. "I'm at the top, I set it for everybody.

"So Tim's here doing what the NCAA allows him to do as a volunteer assistant: studying film, scouting, all those kind of things. And so I'm glad we're able to give him this opportunity until he's able to find employment."

North Carolina team spokesman Kevin Best said Wednesday in an email to The Associated Press that Beckman can scout and evaluate film. He can interact with players but cannot instruct them as a coach.

Fedora said he conferred with athletic director Bubba Cunningham before bringing Beckman on as a volunteer assistant at the start of training camp.

"If I wouldn't have known Tim, it may not have happened," Fedora said.

Asked about the perception of bringing Beckman into the program, Fedora responded: "I don't believe everything I read, all right? I know Tim. I know his side of the story also. So I was comfortable with it.

"If I wouldn't have been, obviously I wouldn't have brought him. I wouldn't allow him to be in our program, but I was very comfortable with it. I don't have any issues with it at all."

Beckman went 12-25 in three years as Illinois' coach -- and just 4-20 in Big Ten play. The Illini made a bowl game in Beckman's final season, losing to Louisiana Tech in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl.

A school investigation into Beckman's program was launched following Twitter allegations from former Illinois offensive lineman Simon Cvijanovic in May 2015.

Fedora said rules allow Beckman to be on the sideline for games or travel with the Tar Heels this season, but he said no decisions have been made on whether that will happen. North Carolina travels to Champaign this year to take on Illinois on Sept. 10.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.