An experienced offensive coach who has served as offensive coordinator at six different universities, Bob Cole begins his third season as the Huskies’ offensive coordinator and enters his fifth season overall at NIU.
Under Cole’s direction in 2014, the Huskie offense thrived even after the departure of Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch. With sophomore Drew Hare taking over the reins as the team’s new starting quarterback, NIU’s offense averaged 441.2 yards and 31.5 points per game on its way to a fifth straight 11-win season, a fifth consecutive MAC West title and a third MAC Championship Game victory in five years.
After beginning his time at NIU as wide receivers coach in 2011, Cole returned to lead the position group he has worked with the most over the years, coaching the Huskie quarterbacks starting in 2012.
Under his tutelage, Lynch, who finished seventh in the 2012 Heisman voting, turned in a record-setting senior season in 2013, becoming the first NCAA player to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,500 yards. The 2012 Mid-American Conference MVP tallied 353.8 yards of total offense and led the nation with 12 rushing touchdowns.
Lynch took his play to a new level in his second season as a starter en route to finishing third in the 2013 Heisman Trophy voting to set a Mid-American Conference record. Lynch, who was named a first team All-American and was a finalist for multiple national quarterback awards, passed for 2,892 yards and rushing for 1,920 while breaking numerous NCAA, league and school records. The Huskie offense also set three MAC and nine school records in 2013 during Cole’s first season calling the plays.
Cole has helped guide some of the most productive offenses in NIU history. Under Cole’s guidance in 2011, the Huskies developed one of the most consistent and deep receiving corps in NIU history, contributing to a record-setting offensive season and the 2011 Mid-American Conference Championship.
Cole is a 26-year collegiate coaching veteran who has made stops at seven colleges and two high schools in his career. Prior to spending the 2009 campaign at Western Kentucky where he served as quarterbacks coach, Cole was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Wyoming in 2008. He went to Wyoming after three seasons (2005-07) in the same role at Florida A&M University, where Rattlers’ quarterback Albert Chester led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in passing and total offense in 2006.
Cole led a successful offense as coordinator at Utah State from 2000-04. Under his direction, the 2002 Aggies ranked seventh in the nation in passing offense. The previous year, Cole’s USU offense ranked 13th in the NCAA in passing and receiver Kevin Curtis led the nation in receptions and was third in receiving yards.
As offensive coordinator at Montana in 1999, the Grizzlies reached the NCAA I-AA (now FCS) playoffs and Cole’s offense ranked second in total offense (517.4 yards per game), scoring offense (46.4 points per game) and passing offense (370.0 yards per game). Quarterback Drew Miller led the nation in passing efficiency, marking the second consecutive season that Cole coached the nation’s passing efficiency leader. Miller also ranked second in the nation with an average of 346.1 passing yards per game.
Cole spent six seasons (1993-98) at Portland State as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. During his tenure, PSU ranked in the top 10 in the nation in total offense three times - in 1994, 1995 and 1998. Vikings’ quarterback Jimmy Blanchard led the nation in passing efficiency in 1998.
Cole has been a college coach since 1988, when he began his career as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks’ coach at Sonoma State University in California, where he coached for five years (1988-92).