Bobby Elliott Named ISU Secondary Coach
AMES, Iowa - Experience counts. That is why Iowa State head football coach Paul Rhoads is bringing Bobby Elliott, a coaching and recruiting veteran of more than 30 years, back to Iowa State as secondary coach and recruiting coordinator. It is the third stint at Iowa State for Elliott, who also worked under former Cyclone coaches Donnie Duncan (1981-82) and Dan McCarney (2000-01).
“I am thrilled that we were able to make this happen,” Rhoads said. “He possesses everything I was looking for in a coach. Bobby is a great teacher on the field, builds strong relationships with his players and is a tenacious recruiter with extensive experience recruiting in California.”
Elliott was most recently assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at San Diego State (2006-2008). He coached the Aztec inside and outside linebackers, including current Jacksonville Jaguar Russell Allen. In Elliott’s first year at San Diego State, the Aztecs were second in the Mountain West Conference in pass defense and second in redzone defense. Elliott worked in the SDSU athletics department in 2009.
“Our family is excited to be coming back to Iowa State and working for Paul Rhoads,” Elliott said. “All of our family is in the state of Iowa, where the instate rivalries make it unique in college football. I can’t wait to get started.”
Elliott has served as a defensive coordinator for 11 seasons, including one year at Ball State, three years at Iowa, four years at Kansas State and three years at San Diego State. Elliott had a four-year run at Kansas State in which the Wildcats posted two 11-win seasons, claimed the school’s lone Big 12 championship and played in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl.
During his tenure at KSU, the Wildcats went 31-19 with four victories over nationally ranked teams. His 2002 Wildcat defense finished the season ranked first nationally in scoring defense, second in total defense, second in rushing defense and third in pass efficiency defense. Elliott’s 2003 Kansas State defense ranked sixth nationally in total defense, eighth in scoring defense, 12th in pass efficiency defense and 17th in rushing defense.
Elliott, universally respected as a coach, mentor and teacher in Iowa and across the country, rejoined the Cyclone coaching staff in March 2000 as associate head coach, secondary coach and special teams coordinator. That move paid handsome returns as Iowa State won 16-of-24 contests with a pair of bowl game appearances during Elliott’s second stay in Ames. His special teams and record-setting pass defense made a profound impact on Iowa State’s winning ways.
Elliott’s secondary intercepted 18 passes in 2001, the most picks by a Cyclone secondary since 1976. Strong safety Adam Runk earned All-Big 12 recognition and Iowa State ranked 21st nationally in pass efficiency defense with its best rating since 1985. Only three teams nationally allowed fewer passing yards per game than ISU (151.8 ypg) in 2001. The defense’s success propelled the Cyclones to a berth in the Independence Bowl.
Cyclone defensive backs intercepted 10 passes en route to the team’s Insight.com Bowl appearance in 2000, the highest total in eight years. Defensive back Jamarcus Powers and safety Dustin Avey earned All-Big 12 recognition. Safety Marc Timmons was one of the Big 12’s top freshman performers. On special teams, Iowa State players blocked seven kicks that fall to lead the Big 12 Conference. Kick returner J.J. Moses was a first-team All-Big 12 selection. When Moses was forced from the Insight.com bowl with an injury, JaMaine Billups stepped in and returned a Pittsburgh punt 72 yards for a touchdown, the game’s key play.
Elliott came back to Iowa State after serving as special assistant to Iowa athletics director Bob Bowlsby in 1999. A former academic All-American as an Iowa defensive back, Elliott was named assistant head coach under Hayden Fry at Iowa during the summer of 1998. He was the Hawkeyes’ defensive coordinator from 1996-1998, capping a 12-year stint as an assistant coach at Iowa.
Elliott joined the Iowa staff in 1987 and coached the defensive secondary for eight seasons. He also served as an executive director of the University of Iowa Alumni Association for one year, not coaching during the 1995 football season.
The 1997 Hawkeye defense ranked among the best in the Big Ten and the nation. On the national level, Iowa ranked fourth in scoring defense and pass efficiency defense, seventh in total defense and 11th in rushing defense.
The Iowa defense recorded three shutouts in 1997 and held two additional teams to just one touchdown. Iowa ranked second in the Big Ten in total defense, rushing defense and passing defense and third in scoring defense. The Hawk defense ranked third in the Big Ten in total defense in 1996. Iowa participated in the Alamo and Sun Bowls during Elliott’s term as defensive coordinator.
As Iowa’s secondary coach from 1987-95, Elliott’s defensive backfield led the Big Ten Conference in pass defense in two seasons as Iowa participated in five bowl games and won the 1990 Big Ten title. Iowa led the Big Ten in third-down defense in four of the eight years that Elliott served on the Iowa coaching staff. Every one of the Iowa defensive backs that tutored under Elliott during that span graduated.
Iowa’s great defensive teams of 1990 and 1991 were sparked by outstanding secondary play, as the Hawks were the Big Ten’s second-ranked pass defense. Former All-Pro defensive back Merton Hanks (San Francisco) and All-Big Ten honoree Carlos James helped lead Iowa to the Rose Bowl (1990) and the Holiday Bowl (1991) under Elliott’s direction.
The son of former Iowa athletics director Bump Elliott lettered three times as an Iowa defensive back in the early 1970s. Elliott earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Iowa in 1975. He earned academic All-America honors and was Phi Beta Kappa. He also earned an NCAA post-graduate scholarship and was a Rhodes Scholarship candidate.
Elliott was a graduate assistant on Bob Cummings’ 1976 Iowa staff and was the secondary coach at Kent in 1977. He served as defensive coordinator at Ball State for three years (1978-80), leading the nation in scoring defense in 1978.
Elliott’s 1982 secondary at ISU led the Big Eight in pass defense and produced professionals Ron Osborne and John Arnaud. He moved on to North Carolina, where he coached the Tar Heel wide receivers and tight ends from 1983-87.