Bob Elliott has coached the secondary in 22 of his 33 seasons as a college football coach and will coach Notre Dame's safeties in 2012.

Bob Elliott Named Notre Dame Safeties Coach

Jan. 21, 2012

Quotes from Notre Dame Safeties Coach Bob Elliott

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Bob Elliott, a 33-year coaching veteran who has developed All-Americans and NFL Draft picks throughout his career, was named safeties coach at the University of Notre Dame today.

“My family and I are excited to be part of this great university,” Elliott said. “I grew up in the Midwest and have spent much my life in this region and always wondered what it would be like to coach at Notre Dame. This was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up and am happy to be associated with this great place.”

Elliott has spent 29 of his 33 seasons coaching defense, primarily as a defensive backs coach or defensive coordinator. He served as defensive coordinator for a combined 11 seasons at San Diego State, Kansas State, Iowa and Ball State.

“I couldn’t be more excited about bringing Bob Elliott to Notre Dame,” head coach Brian Kelly said. “At his core, Bob is an outstanding teacher and tactician. He has had great success developing top-tier defensive backs and his experience as a defensive coordinator will complement our coaching staff. Bobby has a long-standing relationship with Bob Diaco and Kerry Cooks so the transition to our staff should be extremely smooth. I know our safeties will love playing for him.”

Elliott has had three two-year coaching stints at Iowa State in the last 30 years and most recently served as the Cyclones’ secondary coach from 2010-11. Elliott helped improve a pass defense that ranked 84th in pass efficiency defense the season before he arrived to 46th this year. He also helped Iowa State move up 29 spots in the pass defense rankings from 2009 to 2011.

Cyclones cornerback Leonard Johnson earned second-team all-Big 12 honors in 2010 and 2011. Safety Ter’Ran Benton was an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection in 2011 and safety David Sims totaled 96 tackles in 11 games en route to earning all-Big 12 honorable mention accolades in 2010.

Elliott was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for three seasons at San Diego State from 2006-08. In his final season, Elliott added the duties of inside linebackers coach. He worked in the Aztecs athletics department in 2009.

Elliott was the first hire by then-head coach Chuck Long at San Diego State. In his first two seasons with the Aztecs, San Diego State had the top tackler in Mountain West Conference games as Joe Martin averaged 10.0 tackles per game in 2006 and Russell Allen recorded 10.6 tackles per contest in 2007.

In his first year at San Diego State, the Aztecs allowed only 171.0 passing yards per game and ranked second in pass defense in the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs allowed scores on only 67.3 percent of opponent red zone trips to rank second in the conference.

Elliott was defensive coordinator at Kansas State from 2002-05 and helped the Wildcats to a 31-19 record, including four wins over nationally-ranked opponents. K-State recorded two 11-win seasons, claimed the school’s lone Big 12 championship and advanced to the 2003 Fiesta Bowl – the only BCS bowl appearance in school history.

In his four seasons as the Wildcats’ defensive coordinator, Elliott’s defenses allowed an average of 111.6 rushing yards per game and 194.1 passing yards per game. Kansas State intercepted 58 passes from 2002-05 and returned 12 interceptions for touchdowns. Twelve of Elliott’s players received all-Big 12 accolades and four players were drafted.

The 2002 defense directed by Elliott led the nation in scoring defense (11.8 points per game), ranked second in the country in total defense (249.0 yards) and rushing defense (69.5 yards) and was third in pass efficiency defense (91.7). The 69.5 rushing yards allowed per game was a school record while the 11.8 points per game were the second-fewest points allowed by a K-State defense. The 249.0 total yards permitted was third-best in Wildcats history.

Cornerback Terence Newman was a consensus All-American at Kansas State in 2002 and was recipient of the Jim Thorpe Award, presented annually to college football’s best defensive back. Newman was named 2002 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and became the fifth overall selection in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys.

Elliott’s defense intercepted 20 passes in 2002 and five picks were returned for touchdowns to set a school record. Safety Bobby Walker led the Wildcats with six interceptions in 2002. Walker returned two interceptions for touchdowns in a 23-second span against Iowa State and was named National Defensive Player of the Week for his performance.

The 2003 Wildcats defense also recorded 20 interceptions, tying the 2002 squad for third-most interceptions in a season. The 40 combined interceptions in Elliott’s first two seasons as Kansas State defensive coordinator were the second most in school history.

Elliott’s defense in his second season at Kansas State ranked sixth nationally in total defense (283.1 yards per game), seventh in pass defense (174.6), eighth in scoring defense (16.3 points) and 17th in rushing defense (108.8 yards). The Wildcats set a school record with 51 sacks in 2003.

Linebacker Josh Buhl broke the Kansas State record with 184 tackles in 2003 en route to being named a first-team All-American by Sporting News and a second-team All-American by Associated Press and Sports Illustrated.

Prior to Kansas State, Elliott served his second two-year coaching stint at Iowa State. From 2000-01, he was the associate head coach and worked with the Cyclones secondary and coordinated the special teams.

Elliott’s secondary recorded 18 interceptions in 2001, the most picks by an Iowa State defensive backfield in 25 years. The Cyclones ranked fourth nationally in passing defense (151.8 yards per game) and 21st in pass efficiency defense.

Iowa State defensive backs intercepted 10 passes in 2000, the most in eight years. Defensive back Jamarcus Powers and safety Dustin Avey earned all-Big 12 honors while safety Marc Simmons was one of the Big 12’s top freshman players.

The Cyclone special teams shined in 2000, blocking seven kicks to lead the Big 12. Kick returner J.J. Moses earned first-team all-Big 12 accolades.

Elliott was a member of the Iowa athletics department from 1987-99. He was on Hayden Fry’s coaching staff from 1987-94 and from 1996-98. In 1999, Elliott served as a special assistant to Iowa athletics director Bob Bowlsby. Elliott was executive director of the University of Iowa Alumni Association in 1995.

An alumnus of the University of Iowa, Elliott was secondary coach from 1987-94. He returned as defensive coordinator from 1996-98 and added the title assistant head coach in 1998. Elliott’s position group focus switched to the Hawkeyes outside linebackers from 1996-98.

Elliott coached seven first-team all-Big Ten selections and eight second-team all-conference players at Iowa. The Hawkeyes were 74-52-5 (.584) in his 11 seasons as an assistant coach and helped Iowa get invited to seven bowl games.

In his 11 seasons coaching at Iowa, opposing quarterbacks completed only 51.6 percent of passes and averaged only 176.9 yards per game. Six of Elliott’s players rank in the top 10 in career interceptions at Iowa.

The 1997 defense coordinated by Elliott ranked among the best in the Big Ten and the nation. The Hawks ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, seventh in total defense and 11th in rushing defense. Iowa recorded three shutouts in 1997 and held two other opponents to only one touchdown.

A captain on the 1997 Iowa team was defensive back Kerry Cooks, current co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach at Notre Dame. Cooks was one of four team MVPs in 1997. Current Notre Dame assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Bob Diaco was a graduate assistant under Elliott from 1996-97 after playing for the Hawks from 1991-95.

Defensive lineman Jared DeVries was named Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1997 and was a consensus All-American in 1998 en route to setting the career school record for tackles for loss and sacks.

Iowa led the Big Ten in pass defense in two seasons between 1987-94 and had the best third-down defense four times in that eight-year window.

Former NFL All-Pro safety Merton Hanks was a top defensive back for Elliott and helped Iowa win the Big Ten in 1990 and play in the 1991 Rose Bowl. Hanks was a first-team All-American and semifinalist for the Thorpe Award.

Elliott’s only stint coaching offense came at North Carolina from 1983-86 when he coached the wide receivers and tight ends.

Prior to North Carolina, Elliott made his first stop at Iowa State as the secondary coach from 1981-82. The Cyclones pass defense in 1982 led the Big Eight and produced professionals Ron Osborne and John Arnaud.

Elliott earned his first defensive coordinator position at Ball State in 1980 after serving as the Cardinals’ secondary coach the previous two seasons.

His first full-time coaching job was as the secondary coach at Kent State in 1977 and he served as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1976.

The son of former Iowa athletics director Bump Elliott graduated with high distinction from Iowa in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He earned three letters on the Hawkeye football team as a defensive back in 1972, 1974-75.

Elliott was an exemplary student and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies. He was named an Academic All-American and National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete in 1975. Elliot was a Rhodes Scholarship candidate in 1976.

Born May 6, 1953, Elliott and his wife Joey have two children, Grant and Jessica.



Age on Jan. 21    58
Hometown Iowa City, Iowa
High School Iowa City West High School
College Iowa (History, 1976)
Wife Joey
Children Son: Grant; Daughter: Jessica


1976      Iowa              Graduate Assistant
1977 Kent State Secondary
1978-79 Ball State Secondary
1980 Ball State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
1981-82 Iowa State Secondary
1983-86 North Carolina Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
1987-94 Iowa Secondary
1996-97 Iowa Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
1998 Iowa Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
2000-01 Iowa State Associate Head Coach/Secondary/Special Teams
2002-05 Kansas State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2006-07 San Diego State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
2008 San Diego State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
2010-11 Iowa State Secondary
2012 Notre Dame Safeties