Jeff Jamrog has returned to football, saying he’s found a good fit as the new coach at Midland University.
The NAIA school in Fremont announced Jamrog’s hiring Monday. The former assistant athletic director for football at Nebraska had been working in private business since he was let go last year along with coach Bo Pelini.
“For me to get back in the college scene, there were a number of criteria that were going to have to happen,” Jamrog said. “I found that at Midland.”
Jamrog said he was impressed with the passionate people in the athletic department and the commitment to football and felt a trust in the leadership of the department and the school. He’s known Athletic Director Dave Gillespie, another former NU coach, for more than 15 years.
He’ll have a rebuilding project at Midland, which went 1-10 last season. Jamrog said he’s very familiar with what that takes after more than two decades of coaching experience.
“Starting from ground zero is fun,” Jamrog said. “With tremendous challenge are the greatest rewards in life.”
He’s not worried about making the adjustment from a well-heeled Division I school to an NAIA program, which has far fewer resources. He recalled leaving a job as a graduate assistant at Nebraska in the early 1990s to go to South Dakota.
The athletic director there warned him it would be a change from a big-time program like NU, but Jamrog said he had fun.
Jamrog also served as the defensive coordinator from 1994-96 at UNO, where he had to recruit without a big budget and with no dormitories. The Mavs won a North Central Conference title in 1996.
“Coaching is coaching,” he said. “The reward of it, it doesn’t matter where it’s at. To have a great student-athletic experience, that’s what it’s all about.”
Because of his expertise with special teams and defense, Jamrog said those will be his priorities. He wants an efficient team that doesn’t beat itself with penalties and turnovers.
“We’re going to be a physical football team that will play with fanatical effort. The plan is to impose our will on our opponents,” he said. “We’ll just keep getting better and better. How long it will take to get that done, I don’t know, but that’s what makes it exciting.”
Jamrog said his first step will be getting to know his new team, and sharing his philosophies, standards and expectations. Recruiting will be huge as he builds a family atmosphere within his program. He said his teams also will be very involved in the community.
“Jeff is very well prepared for this job,” said Tom Osborne, who coached Jamrog when he played at Nebraska. “He had experience at Minnesota State and as an assistant. ... He knows the state and will be an excellent recruiter. He’s highly organized and a quality speaker; I think he’ll be an outstanding coach for Midland.”
Jamrog’s already heard about how tough playing in the Great Plains Athletic Conference can be from Barney Cotton and Ross Els, former NU assistants who once coached at Hastings College. He played against perennial favorite Morningside while he was at UNO and South Dakota.
Jamrog will start his new job right away. And if driving the team bus is a part of those duties, he’s ready to go.
“I”m excited about the challenge that presents itself,” he said.
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