Lincoln - Nebraska Defensive Coordinator Charlie McBride announced his retirement Sunday at the Fiesta Bowl's postgame press conference, following Nebraska's 31-21 win over Tennessee in Tempe, Ariz. Head Coach Frank Solich announced Monday morning that he has promoted assistant coach Craig Bohl to the position of defensive coordinator. A search will begin to fill the empty assistant position. It has not been determined whether Bohl will continue to coach the linebackers or whether he will coach another area of the Husker defense.
McBride's retirement comes after completing his 23rd season at Nebraska and his 18th as the Huskers' defensive coordinator. A 1996 finalist for the Broyles Assistant Coach-of-the-Year Award, McBride put a dominant Blackshirt defense on the field in 1999. The Huskers ranked in the top six nationally in all four major defensive categories, including second in pass efficiency defense (87.9 rating), third in scoring defense (12.5 ppg), fourth in total defense (252.3 ypg) and sixth in rushing defense (77.1 ypg). This season marks the third time in the past six seasons and just the fifth time since 1946 that NU has finished in the top 10 in all four major defensive categories. McBride has directed four of those five defenses.
An All-Big Eight end and punter at Colorado, McBride received his bachelors degree in physical education from CU in 1962, then played one season for the AFL's Denver Broncos. Following his stint with the Broncos, he became head coach at Chicago's Fenger High School, a position he held for the 1963-64 seasons. He returned to Colorado as a graduate assistant in 1965 and 1966. McBride was an assistant coach to Frank Kush at Arizona State for three seasons (1967-69), then went to Wisconsin, where he served as offensive line coach on Coach John Jardine's staff for six seasons (1970-75) and defensive line coach and defensive coordinator for one year (1976).
Coach McBride said, "I have been contemplating retirement for the past two years. I can't begin to thank all the people who have meant so much to me along the way. But of course the people I do want to thank are those I have worked with along the way. Frank Kush gave me my first opportunity to be a full-time coach, hiring me as a graduate assistant, which is pretty unusual these days. Then I had an opportunity to go work for Coach John Jardine at Wisconsin. Paul Roach, who was at Wyoming, had a big influence on my career and of course Tom Osborne and Frank Solich. Tom probably had the most influence on my coaching career. Because of his approach to the game, I never really ever thought about leaving Nebraska. He was a guy who believed in his coaches and let us coach and I think that is really important, that you let your assistants do their job. It builds great loyalty. The players were the reason I was in this game. It was a wonderful challenge to try to help the players develop as athletes and people into the best they can be. To leave the players is the hardest thing there is. It's time for me to pay back my family now for all the time I have devoted to football. Football is a pretty selfish profession, because you have to be so dedicated to the program and players. I really think Craig will do a great job. Craig was chosen right away because he is tremendously qualified. He is young, has a lot of enthusiasm and a great knowledge of the game. The players know him and his style and there won?t be a great adjustment. I don't have any doubt that Craig is the person for the job. Coach Solich asked my advice and I told him that Craig is the person for the job."
A Chicago native, McBride is married to Deborah Anne Denniston and they have three sons - Mike, Jeff and David, three grandsons, Ryan, Keefe and Chase, and a granddaughter, Kelcy.
Bohl takes over the reins after completing his fifth season on the Husker staff. During Bohl's five seasons on the NU defensive staff, the Huskers have finished no worse than 22nd in the nation in total defense. Bohl is no stranger to the Husker staff, he rejoined the Nebraska football program in the spring of 1995 after playing for the Huskers under Coach Tom Osborne from 1977 through 1979. The Lincoln native also served as a graduate assistant at Nebraska from 1981 through 1983.
A 15-year collegiate coaching veteran, Bohl spent the 1994 campaign as defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach at Duke, and was part of one of college football's biggest turnarounds. Bohl helped the Blue Devils to an 8-4 mark in 1994, a five-game improvement from 1993, and the school's first bowl appearance since 1989. Before moving to Duke with Coach Fred Goldsmith, Bohl spent five seasons as Goldsmith's defensive coordinator at Rice. During his tenure on the Owls' sideline, three of his linebackers earned All-Southwest Conference honors. Prior to coaching at Rice, he coached at Wisconsin from 1987-88 (assistant coach/linebackers), Tulsa from 1985-86 (assistant coach/linebackers) and North Dakota State in 1984 (assistant coach/secondary).
Frank Solich said, "I'm sure Charlie?s announcement to retire surprised some people, but those of us who are very close to him know that he has contemplated this for some time. He discussed this extensively with his wife and his children and they were all in agreement with him that this is the right time for him to step down. It was not an emotional decision, it was one that was based on a lot of factors. And so with that in mind, as much as we hate to lose Charlie, we are going to move Craig Bohl, our linebackers coach, into the defensive coordinator position. Craig is a coach who has coordinated at many schools prior to coming to Nebraska. He is a good motivator of players, has great work ethic and will devote the time and energy to get the job done. We feel very good about having Craig take over as offensive coordinator. At the same time, Charlie will definitely be missed. So many of us have been with him for so many years. He has done such a great job with our defense and has helped establish the strong Nebraska defensive tradition."
Coach Bohl said, "Charlie has meant so much to our program. It gives me a great feeling in my heart to see a coach be able to retire the way that he wants to. Without question, Charlie was a great coach and a great motivator and I feel good about the way the season has ended, in this his last year. I do recognize that this game is about teamwork. And I think the one thing that is unique about Nebraska is the way the coaches pull together. I do think we will have to work extremely hard to replace a coach such as Charlie. One of the things he wants to see continued is the tradition of the Husker Blackshirts, he has some ownership in it, as do all of us. I humbly recognize this as a tremendous opportunity and responsibility."