Head Football Coach
McKendree University introduced Mike Babcock as the new head coach of the Bearcats’ football program in December 2012.
Babcock comes to McKendree after spending the last five years as an assistant coach at Colorado State University-Pueblo, one of the top NCAA Division II programs in the country. For the last four years, Babcock has served as the ThunderWolves’ quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator. Under his leadership, CSU-Pueblo has registered back-to-back undefeated regular seasons and claimed Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) championships. Also for the second year in a row, the ThunderWolves were the top-ranked team in the final American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) regular-season poll.
“I’m very excited about this opportunity to become the head coach at McKendree,” said Babcock. “It’s a new chapter for myself, my wife and my family. McKendree has a lot of great things to offer both academically and athletically. There’s a lot of talent (at McKendree) and we need to add to that. When we started the program (at CSU-Pueblo) in 2008, it was our challenge to recruit student-athletes who could believe in our vision, our goal for the program. That is an unbelievable feeling. We’re going to use that same approach at McKendree, and I cannot wait to get started.”
With Babcock at the offensive controls, CSU-Pueblo set 13 team and 15 individual offensive records as the ThunderWolves advanced to the national quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2012. CSU-Pueblo set new team season standards in every major passing category, including attempts, completions, yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. The ThunderWolves also established new records for total offensive yards, plays and points scored this year.
During the 2012 season, CSU-Pueblo averaged 35.8 points and 442.6 yards of total offense per game this season. The ThunderWolves were ranked first in the RMAC and 11th
in NCAA Division II in passing efficiency through games of Dec. 1. In addition, CSU-Pueblo ranked among the top 30 in the nation in scoring offense.
Babcock arrived at CSU-Pueblo after spending the 2007 season as the tight ends coach and director of football operations at the University of San Diego, where he helped the Toreros to a Pioneer Conference championship. Prior to that, Babcock served as the quality control intern for offense for two seasons at the University of Colorado. He served as an assistant in coaching the Buffaloes’ offensive line, tight end and special teams.
Babcock began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA). He was an undergraduate and graduate assistant with the Bruins from 2000-04. After spending the 2000-02 season coaching the UCLA linebackers, Babcock shifted to defensive line coach in 2003. He wrapped up his stay at UCLA by guiding the Bruins’ offensive line in 2004.
During his stay at UCLA, Babcock helped coach the Bruins to four bowl appearances, and also helped guide the top-ranked defensive unit in the Pac-10 in 2001.
As an undergraduate at UCLA, Babcock was a linebacker and played on the Bruins’ 1997 and 1998 Pac-10 championship squads, and played in both the Cotton Bowl (1998) and Rose Bowl (1999). UCLA put together a 20-game win streak during Babcock’s playing days. Babcock earned both of his degrees from UCLA – an undergraduate degree in 2002 along with his master’s degree in 2005.
“Offensively, we will run a pro-style offense,” said Babcock. “I believe in being a physical football team where you must develop a strong running game to set up the pass. We must also be physical on the defensive side as well. We want guys that are going to fly to the football and be aggressive. If we can accomplish that, good things will happen.”Mike
Babcock replaces Carl Poelker, who retired from McKendree following a 17-year career with the Bearcats and a 31-year run as a collegiate head coach. Poelker led McKendree to 117 victories, nine national playoff appearances and seven conference titles after helping to revive the Bearcats’ program in 1996 following a 45-year absence from the gridiron. Babcock becomes the 17th
head coach in McKendree football history.
Babcock and his wife Kimberly have two children: a son, Tyler, who is 2 ½, and a seven-month old daughter, Emily.
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