Wolford Hired as Offensive Line Coach

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — University of Illinois head football coach Ron Zook announced the hiring of former Arizona assistant Eric Wolford to fill the position of offensive line coach for the Fighting Illini.

Wolford comes to Illinois with 13 years of collegiate coaching experience, spending the past three seasons with the Arizona Wildcats as offensive line coach. During that time, UA led the league in fewest sacks allowed in both 2004 and 2005. In his one season at North Texas, Wolford's offensive line paved the way for tailback Patrick Cobbs, who rushed for a league-record 1,690 yards, earning the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year Award. He rushed for 152 yards and 11.5 points per game, leading the NCAA. The offensive unit ranked 35th nationally in rushing and the team earned a bid to the New Orleans Bowl.

"Growing up in Ohio, it has always been a dream of mine to coach in the Big Ten," Wolford said. "I am thrilled to have a chance to work with Coach Zook and within this offense. After meeting with this staff and our players, I know this program is going in the right direction. I have been a part of four rebuilding processes in the past and have found it very rewarding."

Before joining North Texas, Wolford spent three-year stints at both Houston and South Florida. While at Houston, he coached a number of positions spanning offense, defense and special teams. He had the unique experience of coaching in the first three seasons of the South Florida football program, helping to lead the Bulls to two winning seasons in three years. In year two of the building process, the offense put up over 400 yards per game, including 191.5 yard per contest rushing. Running back Dyral McMillan became the school's first 1,000-yard rusher that year.

Wolford was a four-year starter at Kansas State under Bill Snyder and his teams laid the groundwork for the program's emergence on the national spotlight. His senior year, the Wildcats won the school's first bowl game in the 1993 Copper Bowl. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1994 in social sciences with a focus on monetary policy and banking. He and his wife, Melinda, have one son, Stone.

Illini Inquirer Top Stories