Bob Elliott

Bob Elliott Named Special Assistant to the Irish Head Football Coach

March 2, 2015

Bob Elliott, a 36-year coaching veteran and member of the University of Notre Dame football coaching staff since 2012, has been named special assistant to the head football coach for the Fighting Irish.

Elliott, who will be involved in numerous areas of the program including defensive strategy, game planning and on-campus recruiting, recently completed his third season on the Notre Dame staff. He coached Irish safeties in both 2012 and 2013 before moving to outside linebackers in 2014.

Elliott proved critical in the development of Notre Dame’s inexperienced secondary in 2012. The Irish ranked among the top 20 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in the following pass defense categories: fewest passing yards per completion (9.95, second), fewest touchdown passes (11, tie-sixth), pass efficiency defense (111.36, 16th), interceptions (16, tie-20th), fewest passing yards per attempt (5.98, 13th) interception percentage (3.69, 24th) and pass defense (199.77, 25th).

In 2013 Notre Dame ranked 15th in the FBS in fewest passing yards allowed per game (198.2), 16th in passing yards allowed per completion (10.73) and 17th in passing yards allowed per attempt (6.31).

Elliott has spent 32 of his 36 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 University, Kansas State University, the University of Iowa and Ball State University.

Elliott had three separate two-year coaching stints at Iowa State University over the last 30 years and most recently served as the Cyclones’ secondary coach from 2010-11. He helped improve a pass defense that ranked 84th nationally in pass efficiency defense the season before he arrived (2009) to 46th in 2011. Elliott also guided an improvement of 29 spots in the pass defense rankings from 2009 to 2011.

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

Elliott served as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for three seasons at San Diego State (2006-08). In his final season with the Aztecs Elliott added the duties of inside linebacker coach. He worked in the San Diego State athletics department in 2009.

Elliott became the first hire by head coach Chuck Long at San Diego State. In both of Elliott’s 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 Elliott’s 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. The Aztecs allowed scores on only 67.3 percent of opponent red-zone trips to rank second in the conference.

Elliott worked as the defensive coordinator at Kansas State for four seasons (2002-05). He helped the Wildcats to a 31-19 record, including four wins over nationally-ranked opponents. Kansas State recorded a pair of 11-win seasons, claimed the school’s first Big 12 Conference championship and advanced to the 2003 Fiesta Bowl–the first Bowl Championship Series appearance in school history.

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

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

Cornerback Terence Newman became 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 interceptions were returned for TDs to set a school record. Safety Bobby Walker led the Wildcats with six interceptions in 2002. Walker returned two interceptions for TDs in a 23-second span against Iowa State and was named national defensive player of the week for his performance.

The 2003 Wildcat defense 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 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 yards per game), eighth in scoring defense (16.3 points per game) and 17th in rushing defense (108.8 yards per game). 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 his stop at Kansas State Elliott served his second two-year coaching stint at Iowa State. From 2000-01 he was the associate head coach, 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 named one of the top freshmen in the Big 12.

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 University of Iowa athletics department from 1987-99. He served 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 Iowa, Elliott worked as Hawkeye 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 Conference selections and eight second-team all-league players at Iowa. The Hawkeyes finished a combined 74-52-5 (.584) in his 11 seasons as an assistant coach and helped Iowa merit invitations to seven bowl games.

In Elliott’s 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 TD.

Defensive lineman Jared DeVries won Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year recognition in 1997 and was a consensus All-American in 1998 en route to setting career school records 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 National Football League All-Pro safety Merton Hanks ranked as 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 Jim Thorpe Award.

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

Prior to that stint at 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 came as the secondary coach at Kent State University in 1977, and Elliott served as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1976.

The son of former Iowa athletics director and University of Michigan head coach 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.

An exemplary student, Elliott earned membership in 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.

Elliott and his wife, Joey, have two children, Grant and Jessica.

The Elliott File

Year School/Franchise Assignment
2015 Notre Dame Special Assistant to the Head Coach
2014 Notre Dame Outside Linebackers (8-5, Music City Bowl champion)
2013 Notre Dame Safeties (9-4, Pinstripe Bowl champion)
2012 Notre Dame Safeties (12-1, BCS National Championship Game)
2011 Iowa State Secondary
2010 Iowa State Secondary
2008 San Diego State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers
2007 San Diego State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
2006 San Diego State Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
2005 Kansas State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2004 Kansas State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
2003 Kansas State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary (11-4, Big 12 champion, Fiesta Bowl)
2002 Kansas State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary (11-2, Holiday Bowl champion)
2001 Iowa State Associate Head Coach/Secondary/Special Teams
(7-5, Independence Bowl)
2000 Iowa State Associate Head Coach/Secondary/Special Teams (9-3, Bowl champion)
1998 Iowa Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers
1997 Iowa Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers (7-5, Sun Bowl)
1996 Iowa Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers (9-3, Alamo Bowl champion)
1994 Iowa Secondary
1993 Iowa Secondary (6-6, Alamo Bowl)
1992 Iowa Secondary
1991 Iowa Secondary (10-1-1, Holiday Bowl)
1990 Iowa Secondary (8-4, Big Ten co-champion, Rose Bowl)
1989 Iowa Secondary
1988 Iowa Secondary (6-4-3, Peach Bowl)
1987 Iowa Secondary (10-3, Holiday Bowl champion)
1986 North Carolina Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (7-4-1, Aloha Bowl)
1985 North Carolina Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
1984 North Carolina Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
1983 North Carolina Wide Receivers/Tight Ends (8-4, Peach Bowl)
1982 Iowa State Secondary
1981 Iowa State Secondary
1980 Ball State Defensive Coordinator/Secondary
1979 Ball State Secondary
1978 Ball State Secondary (10-1, Mid-American Conference champion)
1977 Kent State Secondary
1976 Iowa Graduate Assistant