College Football’s Assistant Coach of the Year
Lsu's John Chavis Captures The 2011 Broyles AwardView Press Release
December 4, 2007
There’s no upset here — Ohio State’s Jim Heacock, the defensive coordinator for the most dominating defense in college football, has been named the nation’s top assistant coach. Heacock, in his 12th season as a Buckeye, was presented the 12th Annual Frank Broyles Award by officials from The Rotary Club of Little Rock during a luncheon at the Doubletree Hotel on Tuesday. The award is given annually to the nation’s top NCAA assistant football coach
Heacock’s Broyles Award victory caps a great few days for the 59-year-old coaching veteran. Thanks to a loss on Saturday by No. 1 Missouri and the monumental upset of No. 2 West Virginia by Pittsburgh, the Buckeyes found out on Sunday that they were in the national championship game for the second consecutive season. Head coach Jim Tressel said he knows why the Buckeyes are playing in New Orleans.
“Jim Heacock’s defense has allowed this young Ohio State team to become a national contender,” Tressel said.
Ohio State’s defense has unquestionably been the most dominating unit in all of college football. The Buckeyes finished first in total defense, first in scoring defense, first in pass defense, second in pass-efficiency defense, third in rush defense and fourth in sacks. But No. 1 Ohio State (11-1), the Big Ten champions for the second consecutive season, didn’t just lead the nation in several defensive categories, the Buckeyes blew away the competition. Ohio State allows 10.7 points per game, and the No. 2 team allows 15.4. The Buckeyes defense has allowed only 11 touchdowns in 12 games. They allow 225.3 total yards per game, while the next closest team allows 267.1 yards. Ohio State also leads the nation in pass defense (148.2 yards per game) and is third in rushing defense (77.1 yards per game). Ohio State has held its opponents to a three-and-out on an amazing 48.5 percent of their possessions (66 of 136).
Seven of the Buckeyes 12 opponents have been held to a touchdown or less, and only one opponent, No. 13 Illinois on Nov. 10, has scored 20 points against Ohio State.
Ohio State’s signature win this season was fittingly also the finest performance by Heacock’s defense. Heacock was named the national defensive coordinator of the week after the Buckeyes shut down archrival Michigan in a 14-3 victory on Nov. 17 in Ann Arbor in a game that guaranteed the victor a BCS bowl game. The Buckeyes held the Wolverines to 91 total yards, and just 15 yards rushing. It marked the fewest points Michigan has scored against Ohio State since being shut out 28-0 in 1962. In typical fashion, Heacock deflected any praise to his team.
“The players, they ultimately are the ones responsible for that performance because they are the ones who were out there on the field getting it done,” Heacock said. “I always look at whatever we do as being a group effort, and that was definitely the case in that game up there the other day.”
The Buckeyes and Heacock have put together a potentially championship team this season despite losing six starters to professional football from last year’s team. New players have stepped in, however, as 16 different players have started at least one game. Junior linebacker James Laurinaitis, who averages 8.58 tackles per game (7th in Big Ten) and has 5 sacks is a finalist for the Lombardi, Nagurski, Butkus and Lott awards. Senior defensive lineman Vernon Gholston is sixth in the Big Ten with 14 tackles for a loss and is a finalist for the Hendricks award and junior defensive back Malcolm Jenkins was a semifinalist for the Thorpe award. All three players were first-team All-Big Ten selections.
This is Heacock’s 12th season at Ohio State, and third as coordinator. He was the defensive line coach prior to 2005. Heacock was one of three assistants Tressel retained when he took over for John Cooper in 2000.
Other Broyles Award finalists were Missouri assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Dave Christensen; Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp; West Virginia assistant head coach, offensive coordinator and running backs coach Calvin Magee; and Kansas defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Bill Young.
For his selection, Heacock was awarded a 75-pound cast bronze Broyles Award statue worth $5,000 and a check for $2500.00. He will travel to Orlando for the HOME DEPOT ESPNU College Football Awards Show. Frank Broyles will also attend the Awards show and be presented with the Contributions to College Football award.
All finalists received $1,000 and a set of Callaway golf clubs, as well as travel and premium lodging for their spouses.
Former Broyles assistant coaches who have become head coaches have gone on to coach in 20 percent of all Super Bowls and win almost 15 percent of all Super Bowl titles plus five national collegiate championships, more than 40 conference titles and more than 2,000 games. More than 25 Broyles assistants went on to become head coaches at the college or professional level, including Joe Gibbs, Hayden Fry, Raymond Berry, Jimmy Johnson, Johnny Majors, Jackie Sherrill and Barry Switzer (full list below).
In 1996, the Broyles Award was established to recognize the dedicated, hard-working assistants like those who worked for Broyles, and to date, 59 finalists and 11 winners have been honored. Like many of Broyles' assistants who went on to do great things, numerous coaches recognized by the Broyles Award have since remained in the spotlight, with 25% of finalists and winners going on to become head coaches, including four of the six finalists from 2004.
The Broyles Award is a member of the National College Football Awards Association. The NCFAA was founded in 1997 as a coalition of major collegiate football awards. The purpose of the NCFAA is to protect, preserve and enhance the integrity, influence and prestige of college football's various awards. The NCFAA also encourages professionalism and the highest standards possible for the administration of college football awards and the selection of their winners.
* Denotes players under Broyles, not assistants