Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch joins Midland University football staff
Midland University is adding another award winner to list of internationally acclaimed coaches with the hiring of Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch, according to a press release from Midland University.
Crouch was announced on Tuesday as the Warriors’ new assistant football coach with a primary emphasis on running backs and special teams.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to have Eric as part of our Midland family,” President Jody Horner said. “Everything that it takes to be a Heisman Trophy winner are the same qualities that we hope to instill in our students as part of their experience here at Midland. The experience that he brings as a mentor, as a role model, and just as a caring human being, I think our students will really benefit from that.”
The 2001 Walter Camp Player of the Year and Davey O’Brien Award winner joins a Midland football program that has been rejuvenated under Head Coach Jeff Jamrog, who played under Coach Osborne, was later hired as the defensive line and defensive special teams coach under Frank Solich, and later took the position of Director of Football Operations under Bo Pelini. The Warriors have compiled winning records in each of Jamrog’s two seasons.
Hall of Fame coach Tom Osborne believes Crouch will be a good teacher and mentor. Crouch is knowledgeable and will be a great addition to the Midland staff, he said.
“At its best, coaching is mentoring,” Osborne said. “It’s important you’re a good role model, that you have good values, and I think that’s something that Eric would be excellent at.”
Jamrog looks forward to having Crouch join his staff.
“We couldn’t be more excited here at Midland to have one of the most decorated college football players to ever play the game to be coaching our student-athletes,” Jamrog said. “As good a player Eric Crouch is, he’s a better person.
“To me, he’s the total package. He’s an excellent teacher, excellent mentor, and motivator,” Jamrog added. “He was the best in the country in 2001 as a quarterback. He was the captain of that football team. He has a tremendous work ethic. I know Eric is going to instill the work ethic, the attitude, the perseverance, all those things that student-athletes will go through.”
Jamrog had the opportunity to see Crouch in action while both were at the University of Nebraska. Jamrog served as the defensive line and defensive special teams coach during Crouch’s junior and senior years, which included an appearance in the national championship following the 2001 season.
“This has really been something Jeff and Eric have collaborated in,” said Athletic Director Dave Gillespie, who played for and coached with Osborne. “I think Eric has probably wanted for a long time to get involved in coaching and just didn’t have the right opportunity. The stars kind of aligned with this, and obviously a lot of that has to do with Coach Jamrog’s involvement with Eric. We’re really fortunate and excited to have Eric here.”
Crouch is looking forward to the next challenge in a football career that saw him set records with the Huskers, be selected in the NFL draft by the Rams and spent time with the Packers and Chiefs, and compete professionally in Europe, Canada, and the United States.
“I’ve got a passion for the game. I love being around the team and players,” Crouch said. “I’m now looking for another opportunity to challenge myself and still remain in football. It’s a great opportunity close to home to help their football program out. I’m excited about where they’re going, the things they’re doing. I really just want to help them win football games, and help the players accomplish their athletic goals and their academic goals.”
Midland has invested in hiring coaches with national and international acclaim to provide relevant student experiences. Crouch joins a Midland athletic staff that includes four-time Olympian and 25-year USA Shooting National Team member Bret Erickson, who coaches shotgun sports; world record holder and nine time USA Powerlifting National Champion Tim Anderson, who coaches powerlifting; 2006 Italian Olympic team member and former NHL player Jason Cirone, who coaches men’s hockey; and two-time Olympic Trials qualifier Ryan Bubb, who coaches swimming.
“We’re really proud of our faculty and staff here at Midland. In the coaching arena specifically, we’ve been able to attract some excellent talent,” President Horner said. “The quality of staff and the caring of our staff and coaches and faculty here is amazing.
“Coaches play an important role here in our Midland community,” Horner added. “They obviously help us attract some of the best and the brightest to our university. But they’re always there as mentors, as role models, and as part of the overall experience that our students get to take advantage of. Our coaches are there for students when good things are happening in their lives, and they are there for them during the tough times as well.”
Gillespie believes Crouch has the qualities to be a good coach as well as a role model to Midland’s students.
“One of our biggest jobs here, working at Midland, is to prepare young people for the rest of their lives. When we have opportunities to model that for them within our coaching staff, we think that’s a great opportunity for us,” Gillespie said. “This is one of those opportunities where you have someone like Eric, who is a hometown guy, wins the Heisman Trophy, starts a family, becomes a great husband, becomes a great father, and has a successful business. Those are all the things we all want for our children and ourselves, so I think being a model of that is something that is really attractive about having Eric here to help us fulfill that mission of preparing all of our students here at Midland to be better people and productive citizens and valued members of the community.”
Crouch’s high school football coach, Fred Petito, has seen first-hand his former quarterback’s work ethic. It’s something the Millard North School coach said Crouch will pass on to Midland students.
“I can’t remember him ever missing a workout,” Petito said. “He set some goals, and was never afraid to do what was needed to meet them. Eric’s always been that way, and he’ll pass those traits on to his players.”
Two of Crouch’s other former coaches, Turner Gill and Joe Moglia, praised the Heisman winner for his knowledge and love of the game.
"Eric will be an outstanding coach,” said Gill, who was Crouch’s quarterback coach at Nebraska and is now the head coach at Liberty University. “He is hardworking, very knowledgeable about the game, and loves to teach others.”
“I’m excited he has decided to follow his passion in football and get into coaching,” added Moglia, the current coach at Coastal Carolina who coached Crouch when he played for the Omaha Nighthawks. “His skills as a leader, hard worker, and knowledge of the game will translate to helping student athletes accomplish their goals at Midland University.”
Washington State Coach Mike Leach remembers Crouch as a player and a broadcasting colleague at CBS. He called Crouch a quality teacher and coach, and is right at home in Nebraska.
“Eric is such a big part of the state of Nebraska,” Leach said. “Nebraska’s had a lot of stars come and go, but to be perfectly honest, it’s tough to think about Nebraska without thinking of Eric Crouch.”
Crouch said his first college coaching position will be a learning experience, but he is ready to share his passion for football with Midland’s student-athletes.
“Right now the goal is just to learn more about college football and how it works on the coaching side,” Crouch said. “For me, I’m coming in basically as a freshman. I’m looking at it like how quickly can I learn the playbook? How quickly can I understand the concepts of what this offense is trying to do?
“I enjoy football. I think being around the game is going to be fun,” he added. “It’s going to be exciting. I’m ready for this opportunity.”