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
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
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
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
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
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.