Dan Disch spent six seasons on the University of Illinois football coaching staff, serving as the special teams/outside linebackers coach (2005-06), co-defensive coordinator/outside linebackers coach (2007-09) and inside linebackers coach (2010). He coached alongside Illinois head coach Ron Zook for seven seasons (six years at Illinois (2005-10) and one year at the University of Florida (2004).
In 2008, for the third straight season, Illinois' middle linebacker led the Big Ten in tackles and was a first-team All-Big Ten selection. After J Leman in 2006 and 2007, Brit Miller averaged 11.0 tackles per game. The Illini also led the Big Ten in tackles for loss and sacks, in which Miller was also the team leader. In 2009, one of Disch's linebackers again led the team in tackles and ranked among the Big Ten leaders as Ian Thomas racked up 95 stops.
Disch's 2007 Fighting Illini defense was one of the best in the Big Ten, led by consensus All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection, Leman. The heart of the Illini defense, Leman finished sixth on the Illinois career tackles list and ranked fifth in all-time tackles for loss.
In 2006, Disch's linebacker corps helped the Illini make a large improvement in total and rushing defense. The team bettered their numbers from the 2005 season by over 160 total yards, led mostly in part by the emergence of middle linebacker Leman. He earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as well as honorable mention Sports Illlustrated All-America honors. He led the Big Ten with 12.7 tackles per game and ranked 10th in the nation in TFL per game.
As the special teams coach for the Illini in 2005, Disch tutored All-Big Ten and All-American punter Steve Weatherford, who with a 42.6 average, became the school's all-time leader in punting average. Just one year later, more special teams records were broken under Disch's watch as running back Pierre Thomas set a new mark for kickoff return yards in a career. He averaged 31.9 yards per return in 2006 and ranks third on the school's all-time return average list with a 25.3 mark.
In 2004 at the University of Florida, Disch rebuilt a secondary that lost all four starters from the previous year, yet his new group still recorded 16 interceptions. The production came from a group that entered the season with just four career picks. Safety Jarvis Herring ranked third in the SEC in interceptions per game, while corner Dee Webb was fourth in passes defended.
Prior to entering the collegiate ranks, Disch spent 22 years coaching high school football in the Jacksonville, Fla., area, including 16 seasons as the head coach of Ed White High School, where he posted a record of 122-55 to become the school's all-time winningest coach. While under Disch's lead, Ed White made 11 playoff appearances, won seven district and six conference championships, and reached the state quarterfinals four times. Ed White also was ranked in the Top-10 of the state's final football poll eight times. Additionally, five of Disch's high school assistant coaches went on to land head coaching jobs.
Disch is a 1981 graduate of Florida State University. He was born in Jacksonville, Fla., and is married to the former Janet Johnson. The couple has three daughters: Chandler, Erica and Virginia.
THE DISCH FILE
Year-by-Year: 2010 University of Illinois (inside linebackers) 2007-09 University of Illinois (co-defensive coordinator, outside linebackers) 2005-06 University of Illinois (special teams, outside linebackers) 2004 University of Florida (secondary) 1988-2003 Ed White High School (head coach) 1986-87 Terry Parker High School (assistant coach) 1981-84 Forrest High School (assistant coach)