MACOMB, Ill. – It has been an exciting Thursday (Jan. 4) for the Western Illinois University Athletic Department. In a morning press conference, Director of Athletics Matt Tanney welcomed Jared Elliott to the podium as the program’s 34th head coach in its 115–year history.
Elliott served the Leatherneck football team as the assistant head coach and co-offensive coordinator since arriving in Macomb in 2016.
Former head coach Charlie Fisher resigned from his post to serve as an assistant coach at Arizona State following two seasons with the Leathernecks.
“In my evaluation of the program and what I felt was necessary to continue our development and progression to the next step in Leatherneck football, it became readily apparent to me that our next head football coach is already on the staff,” said Tanney.
“Jared is well respected among his coaching peers and I can tell you that he is well-respected by our student-athletes and our current roster. He understands what it takes to be successful at this next level. Most importantly, we are on the same page when it comes to the expectations and priorities of this football program. He’s a man of character who will continue to develop the men of our program in a positive culture that is consistent with the energy, the professionalism and the integrity that he’s demonstrated his entire career.”
“We are excited that Jared Elliott is our new head football coach,” said University President Dr. Jack Thomas. “We have confidence in Coach Elliott because he knows our system. He knows our players and he is an integral part of our winning program. As I have said many times before, we want to win and we want to win national championships.”
No stranger to success, Elliott has assisted WIU to 14 wins over the past two seasons, highlighted by an 8-4 record in the 2017 campaign. The Leathernecks concluded their recent slate with an appearance in the FCS Playoffs — their second trip in three years — and were also ranked ninth in the STATS FCS Top-25 poll.
In his role, Elliott coached quarterback Sean McGuire to a pair of honorable mentions on the All-Missouri Valley Football Conference postseason list. This past season, as the co-offensive coordinator, Elliott helped Western to the 16th-best scoring offense in the FCS. The Leathernecks were also ranked 22nd in fourth down conversions, 23rd in third down conversions and 29th in passing offense.
His career has featured stints at Carthage College, Miami (Ohio) and Missouri Southern State.
“This is truly a dream come true for me,” said Elliott. “I’ve wanted to coach since I was in high school. I am beyond humbled and grateful to be your head football coach. This is not something I take lightly by any means, and I am very excited about what is next. Whenever you get an opportunity, it takes people to believe in you and give you an opportunity, just like anything in life. I want to thank our President Dr. Jack Thomas and our Director of Athletics Matt Tanney. They are two unbelievable leaders and ambassadors for our university and athletics department. To work alongside these guys and carry on the vision is a great honor of mine.”
A native of Franklin, Tenn., Elliott was a quarterback and wide receiver at Miami (Ohio) from 2004 to 2007 and part of three Mid-American Conference championship teams. He received his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and health with a minor in coaching.
Elliott and his wife Jamie have three daughters: Ava, Sadie and Clara.