James Dobson is in his seventh season on the Nebraska football staff as Head Football Strength Coach. Dobson oversees all aspects of the Husker strength and conditioning program for football, which includes winter conditioning, summer workouts and in-season training.
In 2012, Dobson was one of 15 strength and conditioning coaches certified as a Master Strength and Conditioning Coach by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.
In Dobson’s six seasons directing Nebraska’s strength and conditioning efforts, the Huskers have had impressive gains both on and off the field. Outstanding conditioning has been a key factor in NU ranking among the nation’s top fourth-quarter teams. In 2012, Dobson’s strength and conditioning efforts helped Nebraska rally from double-digit second-half deficits four times in Big Ten play, including tying for the largest fourth-quarter comeback in school history with a 12-point rally at Northwestern.
In 2008, Nebraska outscored its opponents 155-52 in the fourth quarter. Nebraska’s point total and scoring differential in the fourth quarter were both second best in the nation. The Huskers again dominated the fourth quarter in 2009. Nebraska outscored its opponents 96-32 in the fourth quarter. The 32 points allowed in the fourth quarter tied for the fewest in the nation, while the 64-point differential was fourth. Overall in the second half, Nebraska outscored its opponents 154-55, as the 55 second-half points were the fewest allowed by any team in the nation.
Prior to Nebraska, Dobson was part of the Iowa Hawkeye football program. He was in Iowa City during one of the most successful periods in school history. Iowa appeared in bowl games in six of seven seasons and won 38 games from 2002 to 2005. Iowa won 25 Big Ten games in that same period, including Big Ten titles in 2002 and 2004.
Dobson has had a history of working with some of the top college football players in the country over the past decade. Top pupils Dobson has worked with include defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, cornerback Prince Amukamara and linebacker Lavonte David at Nebraska along with safety Bob Sanders, tight end Dallas Clark, offensive tackle Robert Gallery and linebacker Chad Greenway at Iowa.
Suh was a Heisman finalist and the most decorated defensive lineman in nearly two decades while earning national player-of-the-year honors for the Cornhuskers in 2009. The impact of Dobson and the NU strength and conditioning program on Suh is evident. Following the completion of his career, Suh showed his appreciation by donating $2 million to enhance the four-year old Nebraska strength and conditioning facility.
Amukamara developed into a first-round NFL Draft pick in 2011 after earning first-team All-America honors for the Huskers in 2010. He went on to win the Super Bowl with the New York Giants in his first season in the league. Dobson helped prepare David to make a seamless transition to major college football. After starring as a junior college All-American, David recorded the most tackles in school history as a junior in 2010, before earning All-America honors in 2011. David was selected in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft.
Sanders earned All-America honors at Iowa in 2003, and was the 2007 NFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Indianapolis Colts. Clark began his Hawkeye career as a walk-on linebacker, but moved to tight end and went on to earn All-America honors in 2002, before being a first-round draft pick. Gallery came to Iowa as a 240-pound tight end, and through the strength program, he left as a 320-pound offensive tackle, won the 2003 Outland Trophy and was the second overall selection in the 2004 draft. Greenway earned All-America honors as a senior in 2005, and was a first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2006.
In addition to his experience at Iowa, Dobson worked for two years as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Southern Methodist, working with the football, volleyball and basketball teams.
Dobson attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he worked as a student assistant with the Badger football team for three seasons. He earned his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Wisconsin in 1996, and his master’s of science and administration degree from Central Michigan in 2004.
A certified strength and conditioning specialist and a member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Dobson is a native of Mt. Horeb, Wis. He and his wife, Rebecca, have a son, Colton, and a daughter, Elise.