LINCOLN — Nebraska is prepared to bring a veteran hand to a young defensive staff with the addition of Bob Elliott.
Elliott, 63, took his first job as an Iowa graduate assistant in 1976. He’s been involved with college coaching staffs for 40-plus years since then, most recently with Brian Kelly at Notre Dame.
A person close to the situation told The World-Herald on Wednesday night that Elliott was being picked to fill Brian Stewart’s spot on the NU staff. The expected hiring also was reported by 247Sports.
Elliott would join a Husker defensive staff that currently includes no one older than 50 after the departures of Mark Banker and Stewart last month. Bob Diaco (defensive coordinator) is 43, John Parrella (defensive line) is 47, and both Trent Bray (linebackers) and Donte Williams (cornerbacks) are 34.
It is believed that Elliott would take over coaching safeties, the position he coached at Notre Dame in 2012 and ’13 when Diaco was the Fighting Irish defensive coordinator.
Elliott’s work with Diaco at both Notre Dame and Iowa is part of his extensive experience at Midwestern schools.
Before coming to Notre Dame in 2012, Elliott made previous stops at Iowa State (2010-11, 2000-01 and 1981-82), Kansas State (2002-05), Iowa (1987-98), Ball State (1978-80) and Kent State (1977). Elliott also has held spots at San Diego State and North Carolina.
At Iowa, Elliott was defensive coordinator when Diaco was a graduate assistant in 1996 and ’97, and the secondary coach when Diaco was playing linebacker for the Hawkeyes.
Elliott was in Lincoln on Tuesday to meet with NU head coach Mike Riley, according to a source. Riley had first interviewed former Husker safety Daniel Bullocks last week for the staff opening, but it’s not known who else was involved.
Elliott is the son of Bump Elliott, who preceded Bo Schembechler as head coach at Michigan (1959-68) and then was the longtime athletic director at Iowa (1970-91). An uncle, Pete Elliott, was Nebraska’s head coach for one season in 1956, between Bill Glassford and Bill Jennings.
Bob Elliott spent his last two years at Notre Dame as a special assistant to Kelly, involved in areas such as player personnel, analytics, defensive strategy, game planning and on-campus recruiting, according to his bio on the Fighting Irish website.
Elliott four years ago required a kidney transplant, with his sister Betsy as the donor. Elliott previously had been diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer in 1998 and received a bone marrow transplant.
In a 2013 interview with Sports Illustrated, Elliott said: “One thing I learned when you get sick or hurt or whatever adversity that happens to you, if you stop fighting, you have no chance. This world will not stop and wait for you.”
Elliott last month applauded Nebraska’s hiring of Diaco, who left Notre Dame to become head coach at Connecticut in 2014 but was fired after three seasons. Elliott also said the high expectations at Notre Dame would prepare Diaco well for Nebraska.
“Bob wants to compete at the highest level, and Nebraska gives him a chance to do that — with their great tradition, and where they’re at,” Elliott said.