Lincoln -- Nebraska Head Football Coach Bill Callahan announced today he has hired Phil Elmassian (pronounced Ell-MAY-shun) as his secondary coach. A former defensive coordinator, Elmassian has 30 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 20 years of experience at the Division I level. Elmassian has coached every defensive position except the line and comes to Nebraska from Purdue where he was the defensive backs coach in 2003.
Purdue ranked second in the Big Ten and 19th nationally in pass efficiency defense in 2003. The Boilermakers ranked 13th nationally in total defense (302.5 ypg) and 39th in pass defense. Under Elmassian, senior safety Stuart Schweigert was a Jim Thorpe Award semifinalist and earned All-Big Ten honors and second-team All-America honors.Elmassian, 52, has experience at four Division I schools as a defensive coordinator, including West Virginia (2001), LSU (2000), Boston College (1996) and Virginia Tech (1993 to 1994). He served as defensive backs coach at Wisconsin (1997 to 1999), where he worked under Kevin Cosgrove, who was recently named Callahan's defensive coordinator. In addition to Purdue and Wisconsin, Elmassian was also a secondary coach at Washington (1995), Syracuse (1991 to 1992), Virginia Tech (1985 to 1986), Minnesota (1984) and East Carolina (1983).
"Phil is one of the finest secondary coaches in the country," Callahan said. "He brings a wealth of experience, energy and enthusiasm to our program. He will make an impact from a technical aspect and also from a recruiting standpoint out east. He coached in the Big Ten, Pac 10, ACC, SEC, Big East and the MAC, winning numerous conference championships along the way. I'm excited to have him join the Nebraska tradition."
"I am grateful for this great opportunity to not only coach at Nebraska, but also to coach with Bill Callahan," Elmassian said. "I feel like I have been preparing for this moment for 30 years. I am excited for the chance to help lead Nebraska to a national championship, and I am looking forward to working with the defensive backs here at Nebraska. From everything I have seen and heard, the secondary is blessed with great character and athleticism, and I have a great amount of respect for their abilities.
"I appreciate what Coach Joe Tiller and Brock Spack have allowed me to do at Purdue. I will always be grateful for the opportunities afforded to me."
Beginning his coaching career at William & Mary (1974 and 1975) and Richmond (1976 to 1978), Elmassian coached the quarterbacks and running backs at both schools, before switching to defense at Ferrum College (defensive coordinator from 1979 to 1982). He also coached the outside linebackers and kickers at Marshall (2002) and the inside linebackers at Virginia from 1987 to 1990.
Elmassian has led four different schools to conference championships in four different conferences; Marshall to the MAC Championship in 2002; Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl and Big Ten Championship in 1998 and 1999; Washington to a Pac 10 Championship in 1995; and Virginia to the ACC Championship in 1989. Wisconsin led the nation in scoring defense in 1998 (11.9 points per game) and ranked fifth in 1999 (12.8).
Elmassian played at Ferrum (Va.) College as a quarterback, then transferred to William & Mary (Va.) where he played defensive back under Lou Holtz. He earned a bachelor's of arts degree from William & Mary in 1974. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Claire (15), Dylan (13) and Olivia (9).