Midland Names Jeff Jamrog Head Football Coach
Midland University has named former NCAA Division II head coach and University of Nebraska-Lincoln assistant Jeff Jamrog as the institution’s next head football coach. A proven veteran of the college football ranks, Jamrog brings to Midland more than two decades of collegiate coaching experience, including time as Head Coach at Minnesota State University-Mankato, and most recently, service as the University for Nebraska-Lincoln’s Assistant Athletic Director of Football Operations.
“Midland is committed to pursuing excellence on the football field and beyond. Jeff Jamrog has a proven record of bringing out the best in his players, and winning at the highest levels,” said Midland University President Jody Horner. “Coach Jamrog embraces our commitment to character, community, and excellence, and will take our program to the next level.”
At the University of Nebraska, Jamrog took a lead role in the resurgence of the historically significant walk-on program. A former walk-on who earned a scholarship spot with the Huskers, he was able to recruit homegrown talent that contributed to Nebraska’s success.
Jamrog has an impressive history of being involved with football programs that have seen dramatic turnarounds. In 2004, his first year at Minnesota State University-Mankato, Jamrog guided the team to its first winning season since 1994. The team boasted a six-game improvement in victories, which was not only a school record but tied for the fifth-largest single-season jump in Division II history. As defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach at New Mexico State University, he helped Head Coach Tony Samuel turn around a program that had had just two winning seasons in the previous 31 years. He also served as the defensive coordinator at the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1994-1996, where he helped lead the Mavericks to their first-ever outright North Central Conference title in school history. UNO earned a No. 4 national ranking, and improved by seven wins in 1995, the second-largest turnaround in Division II history.
“I’m thrilled to be the next head coach of the Midland University football program,” Jamrog said. “I take great pride in mentoring young men on and off the field, and consider it a great honor to become the leader of this football program. I’m extremely impressed with the people here at Midland and their commitment and passion for the success of student-athletes. I have a great deal of confidence in the leadership of President Horner and Director of Athletics Dave Gillespie, and look forward to working with the Midland community to reach the highest levels of success both on and off the field.”
Jamrog will arrive at Midland at an opportune moment in the institution’s 132-year history. Since 2009 Midland’s enrollment has more than doubled, making it one of the region’s fastest growing schools. During that time the university’s commitment to ensuring a comprehensive college experience has resulted in the addition of 11 varsity sports, and expansion to more than 250 opportunities in the performing arts. With 27 varsity sports, 12 junior varsity teams – including football – and more than 800 student athletes, Midland is now home to Nebraska’s largest athletic department.
The university’s growth has been paralleled by recent investments in the university’s football program. In addition to enhancements to the Watchorn Football Complex, the university has completed more than $1.4 million in improvements to Heedum Field since 2014.
“Coach Jamrog has spent years building relationships with coaches, counselors, and parents throughout Nebraska, and has proven that he can spot high-caliber student-athletes who will excel on and off the football field,” said Midland Athletic Director Dave Gillespie. “We believe there is outstanding talent in Nebraska and Jeff is the kind of coach who can both find and develop young men with great potential.”
For more than 25 years, Jamrog has recruited high school student-athletes from across Nebraska. One of his goals at Midland is for the Warriors to relentlessly pursue the top student-athletes with outstanding character in a 500-mile radius of the Fremont campus.
Jamrog has a history of striving for excellence, from his days as a walk-on for the Huskers where he won the Guy Chamberlin Trophy in 1987 to being a finalist for the FootballScoop.com Director of Football Operations of the Year in 2012. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1987 and a master’s degree in business administration, both from the University of Nebraska. Jamrog was a 1987 CoSida Academic All-American and was an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient.
As a player, Jamrog studied under two Hall of Fame coaches in his career. Jamrog played for Nebraska Hall of Fame Head Coach Jim Kane at Elkhorn Mount Michael, where he helped lead Mount Michael to state titles his senior year in football (1982) and basketball (1983). An All-State athlete in both sports, he was named Class B player of the year for football in 1982.
At Nebraska, Jamrog played and served under College Football Hall of Fame Head Football Coach Tom Osborne. In 1988 he began a two-year stint as a graduate assistant with the Huskers. Later, while Osborne served as athletic director, Jamrog was an Assistant Athletic Director for Football Operations.
After Nebraska, Jamrog became an inside linebackers/special teams coach, and academic coordinator for the University of South Dakota in 1990. He was defensive coordinator for the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1994 to 1996 before moving to New Mexico State University in 1997 to become its defensive coordinator.
Jamrog returned to the Huskers as an assistant coach in 2000, working with the defensive line and defensive special teams, and then as defensive line/defensive ends coach and special teams coordinator in 2003. That 2003 team led the country in takeaways and was second nationally in scoring defense. His special teams units also were among the nations’ best totaling 21 blocked kicks and 11 punt return touchdowns in four years. Last December, Jamrog was elevated to assistant coach for the Holiday Bowl where his punt return unit blocked two punts.
During his time at Nebraska, he helped the Huskers play for the national championship in the Rose Bowl following the 2001 season, along with two trips to the Alamo Bowl (2000, 2003), and an appearance in the Independence Bowl (2002).
He became defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Western Illinois University in 2004 before becoming the head coach at Minnesota State University-Mankato from 2004 until 2007, returning to Nebraska in 2008.
Jamrog and his wife, Connie, have three children, Elizabeth, 25; Brett, 22; and Jared, 20.
What Osborne, Solich and others are saying:
Here is what coaches and administrators are saying about Jeff Jamrog becoming the new Midland University football coach:
Tom Osborne, former Head Coach and Athletic Director, University of Nebraska: Jeff is very well prepared for this job. 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.
Frank Solich, Head Coach Ohio University: Having worked with Jeff in the coaching profession, it is clear to me that he will be a great fit as the Head Football Coach at Midland University. He is bright and has the ability to make decisions that will enable the program to move forward. He has excellent communication skills that will enable him to relate to his coaches and players.
Joe Moglia, Head Coach Coastal Carolina University, former Head Coach Omaha Nighthawks: In Jeff Jamrog, Midland has a coach who will not only win football games but will have an incredible impact on the lives of his players, and be a first class representative of the entire university.
Larry Martin, Head Coach Omaha North High School, Nebraska Class A State Champions 2014, 2013: Jeff has an amazing pedigree as a player and coach. Jeff brings prior competitive accomplishments, unwavering commitment to academic success, and his relentless pursuit of excellence. Jeff is very organized. His leadership and relationships with his players has always been to the utmost professional level. Jeff is an outstanding recruiter. He will re-establish relationships with the high school coaches in Nebraska and work tirelessly to find the best student-athletes for Midland University.
Fred Petito, Head Coach Millard North School, Nebraska Class A State Champions 2015, 2012, 2010, 2005, 2003: Jeff is a stand-up guy. He is the same guy on the recruiting trail as he is with his team. Jeff respects his players and treats them like quality young men. It’s a great hire.