Joe Rudolph became the newest member of the Husker coaching staff when Coach Bill Callahan named him tight ends coach in late February. Rudolph filled an open position within the Husker offense following the departure of offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, who joined the UCLA staff.
Rudolph joined the Huskers after spending the past three seasons at Ohio State. In 2006, Rudolph was a member of the Buckeyes’ strength and conditioning staff, where he developed position-specific training programs for OSU’s tight ends, offensive linemen and fullbacks. Prior to working this past season as part of the Buckeyes’ strength and conditioning unit, Rudolph spent two seasons on Coach Jim Tressel’s staff as a graduate assistant with the Buckeye offense.
The Buckeyes had great success while Rudolph was part of the program. In 2006, Ohio State compiled a perfect 12-0 regular season before losing to Florida in the BCS National Championship Game. While serving as a graduate assistant, Rudolph helped guide the Buckeyes to a trip to the Alamo Bowl in 2004. He also assisted with the Ohio State offense in 2005, as the Buckeyes finished ranked fourth nationally with a 10-2 record, including a victory over Notre Dame in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.
Rudolph spent the majority of his time at Ohio State working with the offensive line. During his stint as a graduate assistant, the Buckeyes averaged better than 420 yards of total offense and nearly 33 points per game in 2005. OSU offensive guard Rob Sims was a first-team All-Big Ten pick in 2005, while center Nick Mangold was a second-team all-conference selection.
The 34-year-old Rudolph joined the Ohio State staff before the 2004 season. He entered coaching after earning his master’s degree in business administration in 2004 from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
Rudolph also played two seasons in the National Football League, earning a roster spot with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1995, before playing with the San Francisco 49ers in 1997. He played for the Eagles while Callahan was in charge of Philly’s offensive line.
Rudolph was a standout offensive lineman at Wisconsin in the early 1990s, earning three letters from 1992 to 1994, while playing for Callahan, who was the Badgers’ offensive line coach at the time. Rudolph was a first-team All-Big Ten pick in 1993 and 1994. He helped the Badgers to a Big Ten title and a trip to the Rose Bowl in 1993, when UW finished with a 10-1-1 record and averaged better than 450 yards of total offense per game, including 250.8 yards per game on the ground.
Rudolph was a Badger team captain in 1994, aiding Wisconsin to an 8-3-1 record. He helped provide the push for an offense that averaged better than 420 yards per contest, including 244.5 rushing yards per game. A three-time academic all-conference pick, Rudolph was Wisconsin’s Scholastic Award Winner in 1994 and played in the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl following his senior season. He earned his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Wisconsin in 1995.
A native of Belle Vernon, Pa., Rudolph is the youngest member of Nebraska’s coaching staff. Rudolph and his wife, Dawn, had their first child, Alex, in May.
The Rudolph File
Date and Place of Birth: Born on July 21, 1972 in Charleroi, Pa.
Family: Wife, Dawn; son, Alexander (born May 9, 2007)
Education: University of Wisconsin, bachelors in zoology, 1995; Carnegie Mellon, masters in business administration, 2004
Playing Experience: 1991-94, Wisconsin; 1995, Philadelphia Eagles; 1997, San Francisco 49ers
Coaching Experience: 2004-05, Ohio State (graduate assistant); 2006, Ohio State (strength coach); 2007, Nebraska (assistant coach/tight ends)
Recruiting Emphasis: Ohio, Southern California