Greg Colby had two stints on the Fighting Illini coaching staff, returning to the Illini staff for two seasons in 2013 and 2014 to coach the defensive line after previously serving as an assistant at Illinois from 1988-95. Colby came to Illinois following a five-year stint as head coach at Millersville University, an NCAA Division II institution located in Millersville, Pa. He played both football and baseball for the Illini from 1970-74.
Colby's defensive line showed improvement late in the 2014 season, with junior Jihad Ward earning All-Big Ten honorable mention laurels after posting 51 tackles, 8.5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks, five QB hurries, four fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Ward tied for second nationally in fumbles recovered. Senior defensive tackle Austin Teitsma also had a strong final campaign with 52 tackles, a team-high 9.5 TFLs, 3.0 sacks and one QB hurry.
Colby is a 35-year veteran of the coaching profession, including 27 years as a collegiate coach and 10 years as a defensive coordinator at the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level. He has been on staff for two Big Ten championships and 12 bowl games. In his nine years as a high school football coach, Colby won a pair of state championships.
Prior to his head-coaching stint at Millersville, Colby spent six years as defensive coordinator at Northwestern under Randy Walker and Pat Fitzgerald. During his time there, the Wildcats posted three consecutive six-win seasons for the first time in 70 years and six-win seasons in four out of five years for the first time since 1905. Northwestern appeared in the Motor City Bowl in 2003 and the Vitalis Sun Bowl in 2005.
During Colby's tenure, Northwestern won the American Football Coaches Association award for highest graduation rate four times. The Wildcats ranked second during the other two years Colby was there.
Prior to his time at Northwestern, Colby spent four seasons as the defensive coordinator at Kent State under Dean Pees, who is currently the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens. In 2001, Colby's defense ranked third in the Mid-American Conference and helped the Golden Flashes to its first winning season in 15 years.
Colby helped Michigan State to three bowl appearances from 1995-97 while coaching the defensive line, outside linebackers and serving as co-special teams coordinator under Nick Saban. The Spartans played in the 1995 Independence Bowl, the 1996 Sun Bowl and the 1997 Aloha Bowl.
From 1988-95, Colby was assistant coach for outside linebackers and special teams at Illinois, helping the Fighting Illini to a Big Ten Championship in 1990 and six bowl appearances in seven years. He helped the Illini to a 53-38-3 record over that span, with trips to the Citrus Bowl, Hall of Fame Bowl, Holiday Bowl, All-American Bowl, Liberty Bowl and John Hancock Bowl.
Colby served as a graduate assistant at Michigan State from 1986-88, working with the defensive line and helping the Spartans to the 1987 Big Ten championship and a berth in the 1988 Rose Bowl.
That was preceded by a seven-year stint as a high school coach. He led Danville's Schlarman High School to consecutive IHSA Class 2A state championships in 1980 and 1981, compiling a 25-1 record. He then guided Naperville Central High School to a 24-13 record from 1982-85, including a conference championship in 1983.
As a student-athlete at Illinois, Colby was a three-year starter for both the Fighting Illini football and baseball teams, serving as captain of the baseball squad as a senior in 1974. He is a native of Danville, Ill., and graduated from Danville High School in 1970, where he was an all-state team captain for the football and baseball teams during his senior year.
Colby and his wife, Janet, have two sons: Matt and Mike.
Updated Jan 2015