Dino Babers is the new head football coach at Bowling Green State University. The announcement was made this afternoon, and a press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. “We are so proud to have Dino and his family join Bowling Green State University,” BG athletics driector Chris Kingston said. “Dino brings with him an incredible resume of successful experiences that absolutely fit the Falcon football program. He is a proven winner who is in the business of developing young men who desire success on the field, in the classroom and in the community. His ability to maximize talent through skill development is unmatched.”
|Eastern Illinois University's head football coach Dino Babers, center, reacts as EIU plays Jacksonville State at O'Brien Field in Charleston, Ill., on Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013. (Photo: Journal Gazette/ Times-Courier, Kevin Kilhoffer)
Babers, 52, was the head coach at Eastern Illinois of the Ohio Valley Conference the last two seasons.
He replaces Dave Clawson, who coached five years at Bowling Green. Clawson took the head coaching position at Wake Forest on Dec. 10. The Falcons are 10-3 overall this season, winning the Mid-American Conference championship. Adam Scheier is the interim head coach as the Falcons will face Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl next Thursday. Scheier will coach the team in the bowl game. “I am honored and excited to join the Falcon family,” Babers said. “BGSU has great facilities and the fans are proving, most recently through ticket sales for this year’s bowl game, that their support of BGSU football is among the best in the MAC.’’
In his first season at EIU, Babers took a team which finished last in the OVC in 2011 to a conference championship, going 7-5 overall and 6-1 in the OVC.
This season the Panthers were 12-2 overall and 8-0 in the OVC, losing in the FCS playoffs to Towson State, 49-39, last week.
This season Northern Illinois edged Eastern Illinois, 43-39.
During his two seasons at EIU, Babers led the best offense in all of FCS. The Panthers led the nation in yards per game (589.5) and points per game (48.2) in 2013. In addition, EIU averaged 372.4 yards per game through the air and 217.1 yards per game on the ground.
Under the guidance of Babers, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was named the Walter Payton Award winner, the FCS equivalent of the Heisman Trophy — given to the nation’s best player. Garoppolo threw for 5,050 yards and 53 touchdowns in 2013. During his two seasons under Babers’ guidance, he has thrown for 8,873 yards and 84 scores.
Babers, best-known for his offensive firepower, has proven to be an effective defensive coach, as well. The Panthers are in the top 30 nationally in scoring defense, red zone defense, and passing defense efficiency. They are also one of the most prolific defenses in the all of FCS at forcing turnovers, as they are sixth in the nation with a plus-14 turnover margin. EIU forced 37 turnovers on the year and ranks first in the country with 23 fumbles recovered.
Both Garoppolo and wide receiver Erik Lora were named the best at their position by the FCS Athletic Directors Association. Lora followed up his record breaking 2012 season (in which he was named OVC Player of the Year) by catching 123 passes for 1,554 yards and 19 touchdowns in 14 games this season. The 123 catches were the second-most in FCS history, trailing only the record-setting 136 catches he had in 2012. The 1,544 yards were the second-most in OVC history (behind only his record of 1,664 set last year) and 15th in FCS history. His 19 receiving touchdowns were the most in OVC history as were his 35 career receiving touchdowns.
Under Babers, Eastern Illinois’ offense used the talents of more than just one receiver as four wideouts had at least 700 yards and eight touchdowns this year. Adam Drake joined Lora with over 1,000 yards in 2013, as he caught 85 passes for 1,305 yards and 13 touchdowns. In addition to the aerial assault, EIU features a strong rushing attack. As a team, the Panthers had 35 rushing touchdowns and featured two backs who had big years. Shepard Little rushed for 1,551 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season, while Taylor Duncan had 988 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Prior to being hired at EIU, Babers was at Baylor University for four years. During that time he was the special teams coordinator, recruiting coordinator, and outside receivers coach.
Babers was an assistant head coach at UCLA from 2004-07, and also has coached at Pittsburgh, Texas A&M, Arizona, San Diego State, Purdue, Northern Arizona, UNLV and Eastern Illinois. He was the offensive coordinator at Arizona and Texas A&M.
He has 30 years of coaching experience.
Babers attended the University of Hawaii, starting at three different positions during his college career — outside linebacker, strong safety and running back. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Hawaii in 1984 and a masters degree from Arizona State in 1988.