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Eagles assistant coach Beckles to CMU
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Georgia Southern assistant football coach Jeff Beckles is headed to Central Michigan University, he said Wednesday.
    Beckles served as the Eagles’ wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator last season, and was the only member of the 2006 staff retained by new GSU head coach Chris Hatcher.
    Beckles returns to Mount Pleasant, Mich., where he’ll be reunited with his good friend and new Chippewas head coach Butch Jones, who spent the last two years as an assistant at West Virginia. Jones and Beckles worked together at CMU in 2003 with Jones as the offensive coordinator and Beckles coaching wide receivers. Beckles will be Central Michigan’s running backs coach and recruiting coordinator.
    Jones initially offered Beckles a job in early January, but Beckles turned down the offer to remain at Georgia Southern under former head coach Brian VanGorder. Beckles unexpectedly found himself on the job market several days later when VanGorder bolted for a position with the Atlanta Falcons on Jan. 16.
    Beckles immediately contacted Jones, and though the job at CMU had been filled, Jones said he’d let Beckles know as soon as there were any other openings.
    In the meantime, Hatcher gave Beckles an opportunity to stay on a GSU, which Beckles gladly accepted.
    “I was working well with his staff, and I was happy he was keeping me,” Beckles said. “Coach Hatcher stirred up a lot of excitement in this program, and I wanted to stay.”
    But before Beckles’ world stopped spinning, Jones was on the phone again, letting him know there was a spot for him at Central Michigan.
    “I couldn’t turn him down twice,” Beckles said. “It was a win-win situation for me because I would have been happy if I stayed at GSU, but it’s hard to turn down a good friend twice. He was looking out for me.”
    Beckles is currently in Statesboro, but plans to join the Chippewas by National Signing Day on Feb. 7. He said he enjoyed his year in Statesboro, even though it was a tumultuous one.
    “We had a bad season, but things were going in the direction we wanted them to,” he said. “We wanted to win more on Saturday, but the kids bought in to what we were doing. We were doing better academically, discipline had improved and they’d improved as football players. We went through a lot of growing pains.
    “I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. It was a learning experience.”
Although he won’t be here on Feb. 7, Beckles has a good feeling about the group of kids headed to Statesboro.
    “I feel really proud of this upcoming signing class,” he said. “It’s going to be a great class, and I’m excited for GSU. Coach Hatcher is going to do a good job.”