UNI Football Camps
Offensive Coaching Staff
Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator
Highly regarded as one of UNI's best quarterbacks ever, associate head coach and co-offensive coordinator Bill Salmon has served as an assistant coach in all 33 Panther FCS playoff games in the program's history. The 2011 season will be Salmon's 25th season as a Panther assistant coach.
In 2010, Salmon led the UNI offense to a No. 9 ranking in the nation in rushing offense and No. 1 ranking in the Missouri Valley Football Conference. Salmon also took over as the Panthers' running backs coach in 2010, where he oversaw the running of honorable mention all-MVFC back Carlos Anderson.
In 2009, Salmon directed the Panther offense to a Missouri Valley Football Conference-best 417.3 yards per game. UNI also topped the MVFC in passing efficiency and ranked 11th in the nation in that category. The Panthers put up 367 points on the season (33.4 per game), including seven games of 28 points or better.
Quarterback Pat Grace was the MVFC first-team selection at quarterback, tight ends Ryan Mahaffey and Schuylar Oordt were second-team honorees, and wide receiver D. J. Hord was named honorable mention under Salmon's guidance.
Salmon (SAHL-mun) rejoined the Panther staff in 2001 as associate head coach, offensive coordinator, and assistant in charge of the wide receivers. Prior to his return to UNI, Salmon served as the offensive coordinator at the University of Kansas from 1997-2000. Salmon was also the running backs coach for the Jayhawks in 1999 and 2000.
"It's still UNI," he said upon his return to the Cedar Valley. "Still football. Still people I know. It's easy. This is home." Salmon is a native of Cedar Falls, a graduate of Cedar Falls High School, and a UNI football alum.
Salmon started three years at quarterback (1973-75) for the Panthers and was known for his excellent throwing arm, quick release, great quickness, speed, football knowledge (he called about 75 percent of his own plays), and was superb at running the Panther veer attack. He ran as good as any running back, and was not afraid to do so.
He was a third team all-America selection and North Central Conference Offensive Player of the Year following his senior campaign when he led UNI to the NCAA Division II playoffs. He set a multitude of school records, including throwing for 4,342 regular season career yards and gaining 5,371 yards in total offense. He was drafted in the 10th round by the Minnesota Vikings, but an off-season knee injury ended his playing career.
Former UNI director of athletics and head football coach, Stan Sheriff, called Salmon, "the greatest and smartest quarterback I've ever coached. He can throw the ball a mile, runs like any back, and could even kick if we asked him to. I've never seen a quarterback with as much talent, confidence, poise, and knowledge as Bill Salmon has. But it's his take-charge attitude and game-breaking capabilities which really makes him great."
Salmon first served as a UNI assistant from 1983-96, coaching the wide receivers and running backs. He was Farley's first appointee when he was hired at UNI as head coach.
"Trust is the number one reason," Farley said when describing why he wanted Salmon on his staff. "I was a defensive coach and I wanted someone I could turn the offense over to, and let them control that phase of the game."
In 2005, the Panthers' offense flourished and set a school record with 6,008 yards of total offense. UNI also set school marks in points scored (449), offensive plays (1,024), and first downs (298). UNI ranked No. 6 in the nation in pass efficiency, No. 31 in passing offense, No. 32 in scoring offense and No. 34 in total offense. The Panthers placed first in the Gateway in passing efficiency, fourth in pass offense, fifth in rushing offense, and fifth in total offense.
The Panther offense continued to put up impressive numbers in 2006. UNI ranked No. 4 in the nation in total offense (408.3 yards/game), 8th in passing efficiency (152.45 rating), 10th in rushing offense (219.3 yards/game), and 11th in scoring (31.0 points/game). In 2006, the Panthers led the league in total offense.
In 2007, UNI led the league in total offense (457.31 yards/game) and ranked second in the league in passing efficiency (168.19 rating). The Panther offense set school records for points (469), rushing yards (2,956), rushing touchdowns (39), first downs (322), and rushing first downs (163).
The UNI offense put together one of the finest seasons ever in 2007 under Salmon. The Panthers scored 469 points to set a school record and tallied the most rushing yards (2,956) in school history.
In 2008, the Panther offense set a school record with 661 rushing attempts while earning a No. 3 seed for the FCS playoffs and racking up a school-record tying 12 victories. He tutored a pair of freshmen to the Missouri Valley Football Conference's All-Newcomer team in Jarred Herring and Josh Collins in 2008. Collins led the Panthers with 502 receiving yards and 32 catches, while Herring led the team with four touchdown receptions.
Salmon has coached 33 Panther all-conference selections, 13 all-Americans, and six wide receivers who have gone on to play in the NFL, including wide receiver Dedric Ward, who was a third-round selection in the 1998 NFL draft by the New York Jets.
His wife's name is Kim. He was born January 27, 1954, in Des Moines, IA. He graduated from Cedar Falls High School in 1972, where he was an all-conference, all-district and all-state selection, and a team MVP.
The Salmon File
Awards & Honors
2001-Present UNI Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers
1998-00 Kansas Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs
1997-99 Kansas Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends
1996 UNI Wide Receivers
1988-95 UNI Running Backs
1986-87 UNI Wide Receivers
1983-85 UNI Running Backs
University of Northern Iowa, 1972-76
1974 Honorable Mention All-American, Honorable Mention All-North Central Conference
1975 North Central Conference MVP, 1st team all-conference, 3rd team All-American
Set nine school records
Born: January 27, 1954, in Des Moines, IA
Hometown: Cedar Falls, IA
Family: Wife, Kim
Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach
Biomechanics, Motor Learning and Cognitive Psychology...Affective, Psychomotor, Cognitive and Physical - the four domains of learning...all terms and phrases used by co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mario Verduzco in his daily language of teaching.
Verduzco developed a Quarterback Seminar, which is widely regarded as one of the best quarterback teaching situations in the nation. Each summer, during the month of June, Verduzco employs five separate seminar sessions, each with a maximum of eight quarterbacks to teach young men from around the country the mental and physical skills and tools required to become an effective and efficient quarterback.
When UNI head coach Mark Farley went looking for a quarterbacks coach, he could not have landed a better technician than Verduzco. Since his arrival at UNI in 2001, Verduzco has spun his magic with the Panther signal callers. In 2001, UNI true freshman quarterback Tom Petrie was named the league's Freshman of the Year and to the league's All-Newcomer team. The Panthers also benefited from the play of backup quarterback Griff Jurgens during the '01 season. Jurgens led the Panthers to a 5-1 record as the starter including a pair of playoff victories over Eastern Illinois and Maine.
After Petrie sustained a season-ending injury in the team's fourth game of the year in 2004, redshirt freshman Eric Sanders took over the role and was named the league's Freshman of the Year when it all was over. He completed 95-of-150 passes for 1,307 yards, setting a school freshman record, and seven TDs.
Under the assistance of Verduzco, Sanders developed into one of the nation's best FCS quarterbacks. Sanders finished his Panther career ranked No. 1 all-time among FCS quarterbacks with a 69.59 percent completion percentage. Sanders completed his Panthers' career as the school's all-time leader in pass completions (714) and total offense yards (9,579). Sanders finished second in the 2007 Walter Payton Award balloting.
Verduzco's teaching extended to a new quarterback in 2008 as Pat Grace took over the reins from Sanders. Grace put together a fine season through the air and on the ground. Grace passed for a team-high 2,041 yards and 14 touchdowns, while rushing for a team-high 11 scores that earned him second team All-Conference honors in his first year as the starting quarterback.
Not to be forgotten about in 2008 was the play of backup quarterback Zach Davis, who earned league All-Newcomer status despite only starting three games. Davis did the unthinkable as he led the Panthers to a perfect 3-0 record in three conference road starts.
In 2009, Verduzco coached Grace to first-team All-MVFC honors. Grace finished third in the voting for the league's Offensive Player of the Year after he led the conference and ranked fifth in the nation in passing efficiency. He also led the conference in total offense as a dual-threat quarterback, passing for 2,280 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for eight more scores.
In 2010, Verduzco developed Tirrell Rennie into a second-team All-MVFC quarterback. Rennie produced the first-ever 1,000-yard rushing season by a UNI signal caller. Rennie finished with 1,291 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing on the season. He also threw for 1,526 yards on the year.
Verduzco spent five years (1996-2000) working with the signal callers and as recruiting coordinator at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ, the last season as head quarterbacks coach. During his tenure at Rutgers, he developed what has been described as one of the best Quarterback Schools in the country, when young players from around the country spent four days learning the skills, both mentally and physically, of quarterbacking.
His prize pupil, Rutgers quarterback Mike McMahon, quarterbacked the Detroit Lions and is a former Quarterback School participant. In total, he has coached four quarterbacks who have gone on to play in the NFL. Added to the list is UNI's Tom Petrie, who signed a free agent contract with the Washington Redskins in April 2005.
Verduzco himself learned the trade from the best, working under head coach Terry Shea at San Jose State and at Rutgers. Shea has moved on to coach in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and most recently with the St. Louis Rams.
Prior to being named at Rutgers, Verduzco was associate head coach, Offensive Coordinator, and quarterbacks and receivers coach at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA, beginning in 1991, moving up to head coach from 1994-95. While coaching at De Anza, he spent time with arguably one of the best NFL coaches in history as both Bill Walsh and his mentor, Shea, conducted a private NFL quarterback camp at De Anza.
Verduzco began his coaching career at Soquel High School in 1977 before moving on to Gavilan College as Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks and receivers coach in 1987. From 1990-91, he served as graduate coach at San Jose State before moving on to De Anza.
The cousin of former Illinois and British Columbia record-setting quarterback Jason Verduzco and uncle of former Yale quarterback Bobby Verduzco, he graduated from San Jose State in 1988 with a degree in Human Performance. He received his master's in Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology from SJSU in 1990. That's when he authored the book, "Quarterbacks Born or Made? The Biomechanics of the Quarterback Position: An Integrative Approach."
Upon his appointment at UNI, Verduzco said, "I think (the Panther quarterbacks) have enjoyed having me come in. I don't know a lot of things, but I know three things--there is a God, I'm not God, and the best thing there is in the world is coaching offensive football and quarterbacks."
Farley said, "Mario coaches quarterbacks like I coach linebackers. He's real detailed. He's in-depth about angles."
Verduzco was born on May 23 in Pittsburg, CA. His wife's name is Cate and the couple has a 16-year-old son, Charles.
The Verduzco File
2001-Present UNI Quarterbacks
2000 Rutgers Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coordinator
1996-99 Rutgers Assistant Quarterbacks/Recruiting Coordinator
1994-95 De Anza College Head Coach
1991-93 De Anza College Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers
1990-91 San Jose State Graduate Assistant
1987-89 Gavilan College Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers
1982-86 Soquel High School (Soquel, CA) Pass Offense Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Receivers/Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs/Linebackers
1979-81 Soquel High School Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs/Linebackers
1977-78 Soquel High School Defensive Backs
- San Jose State (Bachelor's Human Performance), 1988
- San Jose State (Master's Biomechanics and Exercise Physiology), 1990
Born: May 23 in Pittsburg, CA
Hometown: Pittsburg, CA
Family: Wife, Cathy; son, Charles, 16
Offensive Line Coach
Rick Nelson will direct the offensive line again in 2011 after helping the Panthers rewrite the record book in recent seasons. Nelson is entering his 22nd year as an offensive line coach in the Missouri Valley Football Conference.
In 2010, the UNI rushing offense ranked No. 9 in the nation and No. 1 in the MVFC. UNI's Tirrell Rennie ranked No. 16 in the nation in rushing, while Carlos Anderson ranked No. 37 in the nation.
In 2009, the Panther offense ranked 10th in the nation in scoring, 13th in total offense, and 14th in rushing offense on their way to racking up 417.3 yards per game. UNI also ranked seventh in the nation and first in the MVFC in sacks allowed per game. Offensive tackle Austin Howard was recognized on the AFCA FCS All-American team under Nelson's tutelage and center Austin Steichen was named a second-team All-American by both the Sports Network and the Associated Press.
In 2008, he had a pair of tackles drafted in the National Football League Draft. Chad Rinehart went in the third round to the Washington Redskins, while Brandon Keith was selected in the seventh round by the Arizona Cardinals.
Under Nelson's guidance in 2007, the Panther offensive line cleared the running lanes for Corey Lewis, who set a school record with 1,513 rushing yards, while also picking up blockers and creating throwing lanes for Eric Sanders, who finished second in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award.
Nelson is one of four former Panther players on this year's staff and he was re-hired by UNI in February 2000 after spending 11 years at Missouri State in Springfield, MO. Nelson was a two-year letterman for UNI as an offensive lineman when he played from 1980-83. He received his bachelor's degree in 1984 and served as the Panthers' Strength and Conditioning coach and graduate assistant for two years before going to Garden City Community College as offensive coordinator and strength coach. The Bronc Busters placed second in the Jayhawk Conference in 1987 and captured the title in 1988. From Garden City, Nelson moved on to Gateway Conference-foe Missouri State University, serving as offensive line coach from 1989-99. He was head football coach and physical education instructor at Woodward High School in Woodward, OK, in 1999. While playing for the Panthers, Nelson was a member of the 1984 and '85 conference championship teams which advanced to the FCS playoffs.
At Missouri State, he was a member of a staff that broke 35 offensive records. He coached four Bear offensive linemen who signed with the NFL. Six of his Missouri State players were named all-American, 20 were named all-conference, four were selected Academic All-Americans, and two were named to the Gateway Conference All-Decade Team. Two of the Missouri State teams won consecutive conference titles and advanced to the FCS playoffs during his tenure.
Nelson has coached nine linemen who have gone on to play in the NFL, 12 all-conference selections, and four all-Americans at UNI, including Ben Deike, who was named a first-team College Sports Report.com all-American, second-team by the Associated Press and The Sports Network, in 2003. Luke Stigler was a first-team all-conference pick in 2004. Chad Rinehart was a first-team all-Gateway pick in 2005 and 2006, while Joe Lobdell was an honorable mention all-conference pick in 2005 and earned second team honors in 2006. Brad Harms was an NFL free agent in 2000.
Nelson received UNI's "Oil Can Award" in 1983, given by the coaches to the player showing ability, performance, attitude and leadership. As a prep at Urbandale High School, he was selected to the Iowa High School Boys Athletic Association All-State Football Team, Central Iowa All-Conference, and Urbandale's MVP in 1978.
The Nelson File
2000-Present UNI Offensive Line
1999 Woodward High School (Woodward, OK) Head Coach
1989-99S outhwest Missouri StateOffensive Line
1986-88 Garden City Community CollegeOffensive Coordinator/Strength and Conditioning Coach
1984-85 UNI Graduate Assistant/Strength and Conditioning Coach
Born: December 5, 1960, in Council Bluffs, IA
Hometown: Urbandale, IA
Family: Wife, Jamie; sons, Nick, 25, and Wes, 21
Tight Ends Coach
Dan Clark is in his second season as the tight ends coach for the UNI Panthers.
In 2010, Clark oversaw the play of Schuylar Oordt. Oordt earned honorable mention all-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors after nabbing 24 receptions and three touchdowns. Following the 2010 season, Oordt took part in the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. In Clark's first year at UNI, two of his graduating tight ends signed free agent contracts in the NFL. Oordt inked a deal with the St. Louis Rams, while Ryan Mahaffey signed a free agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens.
Clark served the previous three years as a graduate assistant coach at the University of Iowa. Clark assisted with the Iowa offense. He helped the Hawkeyes to three consecutive bowl berths, including a 24-14 victory over Georgia Tech in the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl.
Clark joined the Iowa staff after serving as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Iowa Central Community College for seven seasons (2000-06). During that time, Clark helped Iowa Central compile a 56-20 overall record while advancing to a junior college bowl game in six of the seven seasons. The Iowa Central football program ranks as one of the most successful community college programs in the Midwest.
Clark served as an assistant coach at Simpson College for five seasons (1996-00) after serving as a student assistant coach there in 1995. Clark helped lead Simpson to Iowa Conference titles in 1996 and 1997. Simpson posted a 10-1 record in 1996 and a 12-1 mark in 1997, advancing to the NCAA Division III semi-finals in 1997.
Clark was a four-year member of the Simpson College football team as an undergraduate (1991-94) and was the starting quarterback in his final three seasons. He also played baseball at Simpson for four seasons.
Clark attended Twin Rivers High School (Livermore, IA) as a prep, earning all-state honors while leading his team to the state playoffs in his final three seasons.
His brother Derrik played football at Iowa State University and his brother Dallas was an All-American tight end for the Iowa Hawkeyes, who now plays for the Indianapolis Colts.
Dan is a member of the American Football Coaches Association and the Iowa High School Football Association.
Clark earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Simpson College in 1995 and is pursuing a master's degree in Sports Management.
Dan was born November 17, 1972, in Sioux Falls, SD. He and his wife, Kristin, have three children, Drew, Paetyn, and Jace.
Offensive Assistant Coach
Todd Blythe is entering his first season as an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa.
Blythe will work primarily with the Panther offense.
Blythe comes to UNI after spending two seasons with Simpson College. He served as a wide receivers coach for the Storm.
Prior to Simpson College, Blythe was a part of the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League as a wide receiver. In his first season with the Barnstormers, he caught 66 passes for 826 yards and 22 touchdowns. In 201, the finished the season with 87 receptions for 1,181 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Blythe was also a decorated student-athlete at Iowa State and became one of the most prolific receivers in Cyclone history. He started all 45 games he played in for Iowa State and he still holds the school career receiving records with 176 passes caught for 3,096 yards and 31 touchdowns.
A 2008 graduate of Iowa State, Blythe earned his degree in liberal arts.
D.J. Hord will make his return to the UNI-Dome this year entering the season as a graduate assistant coach. He will work primarily with the Panther offense.
Hord comes to UNI as a coach after finishing his athletic career on the Panther football team in 2008 and 2009.
He played in 26 games for the Panthers, accumulating 51 catches for 750 yards and five touchdowns. Prior to playing at UNI, Hord was a wide receiver for Notre Dame. He played in 12 games for the Fighting Irish recording seven kick-off returns for 123 yards.
A graduate of Notre Dame, Hord earned his degree in business finance in 2009.