Football


Mike Woodford
Mike Woodford

Position:
Special Teams Coordinator

Experience:
Third SEason--2009

Alma Mater:
Arizona 1982

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:

  • PK Matt Eller broke Illinois freshman field goal record
  • PK Jason Reda broke Illinois all-time scoring record

The Woodford File
2007- University of Illinois (special teams coordinator)
2002-03 University of Florida (defensive backs/special teams coordinator)
2001-02 New Orleans Saints (defensive assistant)
1999-2001 Middle Tennessee State (defensive backs)
1994-99 Walsh University (defensive coordinator)
1986-91 University of Akron (defensive backs)
1985-86 Middle Tennessee State (assistant coach/backfield)
1984-85 Rhodes College (defensive backs)
1984 University of Kansas (graduate assistant)
1983-84 University of Arkansas (graduate assistant)
1982-83 University of Arizona (graduate assistant)
Home Town: Niles, Ohio
Birthdate: September 4, 1959
Family: Daughters, Michaela and Ellie
Education: B.A., History -- Arizona, 1982
Playing Experience: Arizona, 1978-81
Bowl Games: Rose Bowl, 2008; Outback Bowl, 2004; Outback Bowl, 2003; Fiesta Bowl, 1979 (player)

"Coach Woody is a very enthusiastic coach, very detail-oriented. He gets the most out of each player no matter what style or background they come from. He can relate to all types of players, which is big because not all coaches are like that. I always felt comfortable sitting in his office, most of the guys did."


- Former Florida and current St. Louis Rams defensive back Todd Johnson

THE WOODFORD FAMILY: Michaela, Mike and Ellie

Mike Woodford just completed his second season on the Illinois coaching staff as the special teams coordinator. In addition to his special teams duties, Woodford works closely with the defensive backs.

As special teams coordinator, Woodford was responsible for breaking in a brand-new kicking battery after the graduation of Illinois' kicker, snapper and holder from the previous season. Emerging this season was placekicker Matt Eller, who broke the school record for field goals by a freshman and led the team in scoring with 84 points, the seventh-best single season performance in the Illinos record books.

In 2007, Woodford tutored placekicker Jason Reda to the best season of his career. He broke the school's all-time scoring record with 267 points, while also finishing with 51 career field goals.

Woodford's input with the defensive backs helped increase the total number of interceptions by the Illini from 10 in 2006 to 17 in 2007, and from eight by DBs in '06 to 14 last season. Safety Kevin Mitchell's five picks ranked third-best in the Big Ten and cornerback Vontae Davis' four interceptions were sixth in the league. In addition, Mitchell was second in the conference in passes defended and Davis sixth.

Last season marked the fourth time Woodford and head coach Ron Zook have joined forces, as the pair also were part of the Kansas staff in 1983, the New Orleans Saints' staff in 2001 and during Zook's tenure as head coach at Florida, when they led the Gators to the 2002 and 2003 Outback Bowl. While at Kansas, the pair worked with Mike Gottfried, and Woodford also learned from such coaches as Larry Smith, Lou Holtz and Jim Haslett.

In his first season at Florida, Woodford coached three All- SEC players in Todd Johnson, Keiwan Ratliff and Guss Scott. That year, the Gator pass defense ranked seventh in the country and allowed 162.38 yards per game, the lowest by a UF squad since 1989.

He also helped a pair of Saints to Pro Bowl selections during his season there, as safety Sammy Knight was a 2002 Pro Bowl starter and La'Roi Glover also was selected to the team.

Woodford went to the Saints in 2001 after spending two years at Middle Tennessee State as the defensive backs coach. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator at Walsh University for the 1994-98 season and the defensive backs coach at Akron from 1986-90.

That stint followed one-season tenures at MTSU and Rhodes College. At MTSU, he helped lead the Raiders to an 11-0 regular-season record and a No. 1 national ranking. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Arizona in 1982 and served in a similar capacity at Arkansas and Kansas.

A former walk-on safety at Arizona, Woodford became a starter for the Wildcats during his time in Tucson. He also was part of the Arizona team that played in the 1979 Fiesta Bowl.

Woodford is a 1982 graduate of the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in history. He has two daughters, Michaela and Ellie.


What They're Saying About Woodford...

"Coach Woody is a very enthusiastic coach, very detail-oriented. He gets the most out of each player no matter what style or background they come from. He can relate to all types of players, which is big because not all coaches are like that. I always felt comfortable sitting in his office, most of the guys did."

- Former Florida and current St. Louis Rams defensive back Todd Johnson
"Coach Woodford brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the program. He is so passionate about football and that is obvious to everyone he is around. He puts a lot of emphasis on special teams and made us realize how important our jobs are to the success of the team. An attitude like that is contagious. Coach is also a very down-to-earth guy off the field, which lets you know you can talk to him about anything."

- Former Illinois placekicker Jason Reda

(updated 5/09)

HEADLINES