LINCOLN — Bob Elliott will be a newcomer to the Nebraska staff next season, but he’s very familiar with Husker football.
Through four decades of coaching, Elliott steadily has run in regional circles with NU, including time in the Big 12/Big Eight with Kansas State and Iowa State. A dozen years were spent at Iowa, where Elliott also played defensive back in the 1970s.
In past matchups with Nebraska, Elliott coached against Heisman Trophy winners Mike Rozier and Eric Crouch, was part of the K-State romp
in 2003 that might have finished off Frank Solich and was on the other side in 2005 when Bill Callahan pulled Harrison Beck’s redshirt for a few plays on Nov. 12.
In the last game where Elliott opposed Nebraska, Iowa State lost 31-30 to NU in 2010 when a failed 2-point conversion in overtime cost the Cyclones a potential upset in Ames.
“Being a Midwest guy, no doubt he understands the tradition and the expectations, and the great fans of Nebraska,” said Greg Peterson, a former staff colleague at Kansas State. “With the culture that already exists in Lincoln, he will make an immediate impact and be a great fit.”
Elliott on Monday was officially added to the Husker coaching staff, brought to Lincoln via his association with Bob Diaco, who was hired as defensive coordinator last month. NU head coach Mike Riley confirmed in a release that Elliott would coach the Husker safeties.
“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.”
The 63-year-old immediately becomes not only an assistant coach but a mentor for a defensive staff that includes Diaco (43), John Parrella (47), Trent Bray (34) and Donte Williams (34).
“His work ethic, his work habits, how he treats people … he’s as good a guy as you’d want to be around, as you’d want on your staff,” Peterson said. “He’s such a likable guy and he does it the right way. When younger guys on your staff see what he’s about and how he conducts his day-to-day business, he can’t help but make everybody better.
“And I know the years we coached together, besides having a big impact on the other coaches on our staff, his relationship with the players was phenomenal. So he’ll bring that as well.”
Other than stops at San Diego State and North Carolina, the Iowa City native has spent the majority of his coaching career around the Midwest, including the last five years at Notre Dame. That included associations with Hayden Fry, Bill Snyder, Dan McCarney and Brian Kelly along the way.
“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.”
The most success that Elliott had against Nebraska came during his four seasons as defensive coordinator or co-defensive coordinator for Snyder at Kansas State, when the Wildcats beat the Huskers 49-13 in 2002, 38-9 in 2003 and 45-21 in 2004. The 2003 game included K-State holding a 561-293 edge in total yards and outscoring NU 31-2 in the second half, and Solich was fired two weeks later.
After holding the Huskers to 77 yards in the second half at Memorial Stadium, Elliott told the Topeka Capital-Journal: “It was pretty good under the circumstances. It was just wild, with the noise and their crowd. It’s hard under those circumstances for guys to concentrate, but I was proud.”
Elliott now will make his home at the Osborne Complex, teaming up again with Diaco as NU tries to take another step with its defense. Elliott and Diaco previously were together in 2012 and ’13 at Notre Dame when Diaco was the Fighting Irish defensive coordinator, and 1996 and ’97 at Iowa when Elliott was defensive coordinator and Diaco was a graduate assistant.
After working with safeties for two seasons and linebackers for one at Notre Dame, Elliott the last two years served as a special assistant to Kelly.
Elliott will take the spot on the Husker staff vacated by Brian Stewart, who was hired as defensive coordinator at Rice. Diaco last month was picked to replace Mark Banker, whose long connection to Riley included the 2015 and ’16 seasons at NU.
According to NU, Elliott will be paid $325,000 in 2017 and $350,000 in 2018. Stewart made $425,000 last season, and was expected to go from coaching the Husker cornerbacks to the safeties this year before leaving the staff.
Peterson called Elliott “probably as fine a technician and coach as I’ve had the pleasure to work with.”
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The Huskers run onto the field following the nephews of late Husker punter Sam Foltz before the start of their game against Fresno State. The moment began a season-long effort to honor Foltz, who was tragically lost in a car accident.
The sun shines on the student section breaking up the rain clouds in the first quarter of Nebraska's game against Fresno State.
Nebraska's Sam Hahn raises his finger to the sky to honor Sam Foltz after the Huskers lined up without a punter during their game against Fresno State. The move became one of the most emotional tributes to Foltz that took place during the season.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan, left, and Tommy Armstrong celebrate a touchdown in the third quarter of their game against Fresno State. The Huskers would blow it open in the second half for a 43-10 win over the Bulldogs.
Things got chippy between the Huskers and Cowboys as a flag was thrown on both Wyoming's Antonio Hull and Nebraska's Alonzo Moore.
Nebraska's Nate Gerry, No. 25, breaks up a pass intended for Wyoming's Jacob Hollister in the second quarter of the Huskers' 52-17 win.
Nebraska safety Kieron Williams runs in for a touchdown after making a third-quarter interception against Wyoming. That would begin a theme of Williams harassing opponents' passing attacks throughout the season.
Nebraska's Nate Gerry enters the field for one of the most anticipated games of the season against Oregon.
Nebraska receiver Jordan Westerkamp makes a touchdown catch over Oregon's Reggie Daniels during the second quarter against the Ducks.
Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong dives in for the game-winning touchdown against Oregon's Khalil Oliver during the fourth quarter. The win would propel the Huskers into the national rankings.
Nebraska wide receiver Stanley Morgan celebrates with fans after the win over Oregon. Husker nation was jubilant after a 3-0 nonconference campaign.
Nebraska tight end Cethan Carter catches a huge touchdown against Northwestern. The Huskers would win their first road test 24-13.
Nebraska's Joshua Kalu, right, celebrates after intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter against Northwestern. One of the many times the Huskers' defense would come up big during the season.
Nebraska wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp scores a touchdown in the third quarter against Northwestern. The Chicago-area native experienced another marquee moment in front of family and friends.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong attempts to run away from a horse collar tackle delivered by Illinois defensive lineman Chunky Clements during the third quarter of their game. The Huskers would overcome a slow start to move to 5-0 on the year.
Lincoln native Trey Foster caught a big touchdown pass against Illinois to help the Huskers move to 5-0 on the season.
Nebraska running back Terrell Newby scores a 63-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Illinois. The senior running back shut the door on Illinois with 140 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
Nebraska's Chris Jones spins into the end zone for a touchdown after his interception against Indiana.
Indiana quarterback Zander Diamont is tackled by Nebraska's Aaron Williams, left, and Nate Gerry in the third quarter of their game.
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan looks back at defenders as he runs for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against Indiana. The 72-yard touchdown would prove to be the difference as the Huskers moved to 6-0.
Nebraska's Joshua Kalu leaps up with the help of Aaron Williams after Williams grabbed an interception near the end of the fourth quarter to seal the 27-22 win against Indiana.
Nebraska's De'Mornay Pierson-El, No. 15, celebrates scoring a third-quarter touchdown with Stanley Morgan against Purdue.
Nebraska's Alonzo Moore scores in the fourth quarter to close out a win against Purdue. The Huskers recovered from a 14-10 halftime deficit to remain unbeaten on the season.
Nebraska's Kieron Williams, No. 26, grabbed another interception against Purdue.
Nebraska and Wisconsin endured a physical battle in front of a national audience. Tommy Armstrong and the Huskers would fall in overtime 23-17.
Nebraska's Nathan Gerry, No. 25, celebrates intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter with Josh Banderas. Gerry gave the Huskers a chance to win with two key interceptions.
Wisconsin's D'Cota Dixon breaks up a pass intended for Nebraska's Stanley Morgan to win the game in overtime.
Ohio State's Mike Weber carries the ball after a missed tackle by Josh Banderas during a brutal 62-3 loss in Columbus for the Huskers.
Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong returns to the field at Ohio Stadium after being taken to the hospital in an ambulance with a concussion. Armstrong returned to action the next week against Minnesota.
Nebraska coach Mike Riley and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer shake hands after the Buckeyes drilled the Huskers 62-3 in Columbus.
Nebraska's Terrell Newby gets airborne after being tackled by Minnesota's Antoine Winfield Jr. The Huskers overcame a 17-10 halftime deficit to down the Gophers and move to 8-2 on the season.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong flips into the end zone to score the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. He was injured on the play and didn't return to the game.
Nebraska linemen Jerald Foster, left, and Tanner Farmer carry off quarterback Tommy Armstrong after Armstrong was injured scoring the winning touchdown against Minnesota.
Nebraska's Kieron Williams intercepts a pass to clinch the win as Aaron Williams, No. 24, celebrates.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. gets tackled by Ohio State's Malik Hooker during the second quarter at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 05, 2016. Armstrong would leave the field in an ambulance after the play. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. can't catch this third quarter pass as Ohio State's Denzel Ward defends at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 05, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. touches a Sam Foltz sign while walking onto the field before their game with Ohio State at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 05, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Ohio State's Parris Campbell eludes a tackle by Nebraska's Luke McNitt while returning a Nebraska kick after a field goal in the first quarter by at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 05, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp can't catch this second quarter pass as Ohio State's Gareon Conley at Ohio Stadium on Saturday, November 05, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Terrell Newby gets tackled by Maryland's Jermaine Carter Jr. at 8:46 in the fourth quarter for an 11-yard receptopn at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 19, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp makes a catch at 11:52 in the first quarter as he is tackled by Maryland's RaVon Davis at Memorial Stadium on Saturday, November 19, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Nick Gates (68) lifts Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp (1) into the air after Westerkamp scored a touchdown in the second quarter. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Maryland Terrapins in a football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Jordan Westerkamp catches a pass for a touchdown as Maryland's JC Jackson defends.
Nebraska's Ryker Fyfe (17) can't escape Shane Cockerille (2) in the second quarter. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Maryland Terrapins in a football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) knees as he lays flowers on the 27 yard line in memory of Sam Foltz. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Maryland Terrapins in a football game at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's wide receivers coach Keith Williams high fives Nebraska's Stanley Morgan Jr. (8) after he made a third quarter reception. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Iowa Hawkeyes in a football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Tre Bryant (18) breaks free from Iowa tackler Josey Jewell (43) in the first quarter. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Iowa Hawkeyes in a football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Tommy Armstrong Jr. (4) waits to take the field at the start of the Iowa football game. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Iowa Hawkeyes in a football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nebraska's Nathan Gerry (25) warms up for the Iowa football game. The Nebraska Cornhuskers played the Iowa Hawkeyes in a football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
De'Mornay Pierson-El and the rest of the Nebraska special teams have struggled recently, which resulted in the firing of coordinator Bruce Read.
Iowa special teamer Jack Hockaday puts his hands to the face of Nebraska defensive end Ross Dzuris in the third quarter.
Nebraska’s Jordan Westerkamp had four catches for 50 yards against Iowa. Westerkamp has at least one catch in 36 straight games, one behind the school record held by Johnny Rodgers.
Nebraska tight end Cethan Carter, No. 11, and linebacker Josh Banderas walk off the field together following the Huskers' 40-10 loss to Iowa.
Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong limps off the field following the Huskers' 40-10 loss to Iowa.