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Riley Adds Veteran Elliott to Husker Coaching Staff

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska Head Coach Mike Riley announced Monday the addition of Bob Elliott to the Husker football coaching staff. Elliott brings 38 years of college coaching experience to the Nebraska program, most recently spending five seasons on the Notre Dame staff.


Elliott will coach the Nebraska safeties in 2017, and joins a defensive staff that is led by first-year coordinator Bob Diaco who was hired in January. Elliott and Diaco served on the same Notre Dame staff in 2012 and 2013.


“Bob Elliott has great respect throughout football for his defensive knowledge and ability as a coach, teacher and recruiter,” Riley said. “The experience he brings to our staff will be a great asset as we install a new defensive system and build toward the future success of the Blackshirts.”


Elliott has worked in successful programs throughout his career and has had the opportunity to work under head coaches Hayden Fry, Bill Snyder and Brian Kelly. Elliott said joining the Nebraska staff is another highlight of his career.


“I have been very fortunate throughout my career to work at outstanding universities and with great coaches,” Elliott said. “The opportunity to work under Coach Riley is an unbelievable honor. His reputation in the coaching profession is second to none. When you couple that with working in a program with the tradition and history of success of Nebraska, I couldn’t be more excited.”


In his most recent stop at Notre Dame, Elliott coached the Irish safeties in 2012 and 2013, while Diaco was the Irish defensive coordinator. In 2013, Notre Dame ranked 15th in the FBS ranks in passing yards allowed per game, 16th in yards allowed per completion and 17th in yards per attempt.


In 2012, Notre Dame went 12-0 in the regular season and played in the BCS National Championship Game. The Irish defense keyed the success by ranking second nationally in yards per completion, sixth in fewest touchdown passes allowed, 13th in yards per attempt and 16th in pass efficiency defense.


Elliott coached Notre Dame’s outside linebackers in 2014, and then served as Special Assistant to Head Coach Brian Kelly the past two years. In his most recent role, Elliott was involved in player personnel decisions, analytics, defensive strategy, game planning and on-campus recruiting. 


During his career, Elliott has spent 32 of his 36 on-field seasons coaching defense, primarily as a defensive backs coach or defensive coordinator. He has a combined 11 years of defensive coordinator experience at San Diego State, Kansas State, Iowa and Ball State. Elliott has been a part of 18 bowl teams during his career.


Before his five-year stint at Notre Dame, Elliott worked in 2010 and 2011 at Iowa State, his third coaching stop in Ames during his career, after also working in Ames in 1981-82 and 2000-01.  Elliott coordinated the San Diego State defense from 2006 to 2008, leading an Aztec defense that ranked second in pass defense in the Mountain West in his first year.


Elliott was the defensive coordinator for Bill Snyder at Kansas State from 2002 to 2005. During his stay in Manhattan, Elliott helped K-State to two 11-win seasons and the school’s first Big 12 championship in 2003. His Wildcat defenses allowed an average of 111.6 rushing yards and 194.1 passing yards per game over his four-year tenure. The 2002 defense led the nation in scoring defense, was second in total defense and rushing defense and third in pass efficiency defense. That unit featured cornerback Terence Newman, who was the recipient of the 2002 Jim Thorpe Award. The 2003 defense ranked in the top 10 nationally in total defense, pass defense and scoring defense.


Elliott was on Hayden Fry’s Iowa staff for 11 years as an assistant (1987-94, 1996-98). He worked as the secondary coach for eight years and was the defensive coordinator for his final three years from 1996 to 1998. Iowa played in seven bowl games during his time as an assistant, including the 1991 Rose Bowl.


His 1997 defense finished in the top 11 in the nation in scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, total defense and rushing defense. That defense featured Jared DeVries, who was the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year and was a 1998 consensus All-American.


The only offensive coaching stint of Elliott’s career came at North Carolina from 1983 to 1986, when he coached the Tar Heels’ wide receivers and tight ends. He spent three seasons at Ball State from 1980 to 1982, including his first defensive coordinator role in 1980. After one year as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1976, Elliott had his first full-time coaching job at Kent State in 1977.


Elliott played defensive back at Iowa from 1972 to 1975 and was an Academic All-American in 1974 and 1975. He graduated in 1976 with high distinction, was a 1976 Rhodes Scholar candidate and the recipient of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.  


Elliott and his wife, Joey, have two children, Grant and Jessica. Elliott is the son of former Michigan head football coach and Iowa athletic director Bump Elliott. His uncle, Pete Elliott, was the head coach at Nebraska in 1956.



2017       Nebraska, Safeties

2015-16 Notre Dame Special Assistant to the Head Coach

2014       Notre Dame, Outside Linebackers

2012-13 Notre Dame, Safeties

2010-11 Iowa State, Secondary

2008       San Diego State, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Inside Linebackers

2006-07 San Diego State, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator

2002-05 Kansas State, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

2000-01 Iowa State, Associate Head Coach/Secondary/Special Teams

1998       Iowa, Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers

1996-97 Iowa, Defensive Coordinator/Outside Linebackers

1987-94 Iowa, Secondary

1983-86 North Carolina, Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

1981-82 Iowa State, Secondary

1980       Ball State, Defensive Coordinator/Secondary

1978-79 Ball State, Secondary

1977       Kent State, Secondary

1976       Iowa, Graduate Assistant



1983 North Carolina (Peach)

1986 North Carolina (Aloha)

1987 Iowa (Holiday)

1988 Iowa (Peach)

1991 Iowa (Rose)

1991 Iowa (Holiday)

1993 Iowa (Alamo)

1996 Iowa (Alamo)

1997 Iowa (Sun)

2000 Iowa State (

2001 Iowa State (Independence)

2002 Kansas State (Holiday)

2004 Kansas State (Fiesta)

2011 Iowa State (Pinstripe)

2012 Notre Dame (BCS National Championship)

2013 Notre Dame (Pinstripe) 2014 Notre Dame (Music City) 2015 Notre Dame (Fiesta)



Hometown: Iowa City, Iowa

High School: West High School

College: Iowa (History, 1976)

Wife: Joey

Children: Son: Grant; Daughter: Jessica
Playing Career: Iowa, 1972-75 (Defensive Back)


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