Elliott returns for third tour as coach

Already a well-traveled coach, Bobby Elliott was looking for a chance to return home to Iowa and head coach Paul Rhoads gave him it.

Rhoads had an opening on his staff as a secondary coach and Elliott, who also coached at Iowa State in 1981 and 1982 under Donnie Duncan and 2000 and 2001 under Dan McCarney, was hired.

"I think there is a comfort level with coaching at a place multiple times," Rhoads said. "As he begins his third tour of duty, he feels that and it shows on the field and it shows in his recruiting."

Elliott said he and his wife are just happy to be home.

"We have been away for too long and have been trying to get back to Iowa for several years," Elliott said. "Paul gave us the opportunity to come back and we appreciate it."

Elliott has been at a total of seven schools in his 34 years of coaching, including being a defensive coordinator for 11 of those years.

After leaving Iowa State the first time, Elliott became the defensive coordinator at Ball State before spending 12 years at Iowa, where he was the defensive coordinator for the last three years. Elliott then returned to Iowa State for two years before spending the next seven years as a coordinator at Kansas State and San Diego State.

"He brings experience and he brings a passion for coaching kids both out of this state and in this program," Rhoads said. "Any time you can add continuity that quickly with a hire, your program benefits from it."

The one thing that has been continuous in Elliott's now three stops in Ames is that he is coaching the defensive backs. Elliott has had numerous players receive all-conference recognition and two players play professionally after their time as Cyclones.

"(The players) just see a guy who is comfortable and wants to be here just like coach Rhoads," Elliott said. "The secondary is very technical and very difficult position to coach and to play; there is a lot of responsibility involved."

Safety Michael O'Connell said that he has already seen coach Elliott's vast knowledge of the game at work.

"He knows a lot about the game and he has coached a lot of great players," O'Connell said. "He is committed and excited to get back into coaching; he is pumped up and brings a lot of energy."

Elliott has the most veteran group on the defense this fall with two starters returning and several other players that played roles as nickel and dime defensive backs from a unit that picked off 15 passes last season.

"We don't have to be perfect but there are certain objectives we have to contribute to the team," Elliott said.

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