Bret Bielema Among Six Head Coaches Named to the AFCA Board of Trustees

Courtesy AFCA

March 25, 2024

WACO, TEXAS — Ohio University head coach Tim Albin, University of Illinois head coach Bret Bielema, University of Virginia head coach Tony Elliott, Marshall University head coach Charles Huff, Kansas State University head coach Chris Klieman and University of Oklahoma head coach Brent Venables have been elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA). Albin (MAC) and Huff (Sun Belt) are replacing conference representatives who took new job opportunities while Bielema (Big Ten), Elliott (ACC), Klieman (Big 12) and Venables (SEC) are being added as second representatives of their conferences.

“The AFCA is excited about the addition of Tim Albin from Ohio University and Charles Huff from Marshall University as new Board of Trustees members from the MAC and Sun Belt,” said AFCA executive director Craig Bohl. “Also, being reflective of FBS conference expansion, the AFCA has added more board members for the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and SEC, with the addition of Illinois’ Bret Bielema, Virginia’s Tony Elliott, Kansas State’s Chris Klieman and Oklahoma’s Brent Venables.”

Those coaches will join a group of distinguished head coaches who guide the organization. The Board formulates policy and provides direction for the AFCA, which was founded in 1922 by Amos Alonzo Stagg, John Heisman and others. Members of the AFCA Board of Trustees include President Jeff McMartin of Central College, first vice-president Bobby Hauck of the University of Montana, second vice-president Neal Brown of West Virginia University and third vice-president Jim Catanzaro of Lake Forest College.

Also serving on the Board in 2024 are: Steve Ryan, Morningside University; James Franklin, Penn State University; Dave Clawson, Wake Forest University; Mike MacIntyre, Florida International University; Mike Babcock, McKendree University; Clark Lea, Vanderbilt University; Mike Bloomgren, Rice University; Jay Norvell, Colorado State University; Jason Simpson, University of Tennessee at Martin; Alvin Parker, Virginia Union University; Randy Bates, University of Pittsburgh; ex officio member and chairman of the Assistant Coaches Committee; Van Malone, Kansas State University, ex officio member and chairman of the Minority Advancement Committee; Michael Christensen, Carson (Calif.) High School, ex officio member and chairman of the High School Committee; and Scott Strohmeier, Iowa Western Community College, ex officio member and Junior College representative. AFCA Executive Director Craig Bohl serves as secretary-treasurer of the organization.

Albin will enter his fourth season as head coach at Ohio in 2024. He has led the Bobcats to consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in program history. In 2023, Ohio went 10-4 with a victory in the Myrtle Beach Bowl while in 2022, the Bobcats went 10-4 with MAC East and Arizona Bowl titles. Albin is 23-16 in his three seasons at Ohio and 48-24 overall when you include his three seasons as head coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State. He guided his alma mater to a 25-8 overall record from 1997-99 which included a 13-0 season in 1999 and the NAIA National Championship. Albin earned NAIA National Coach of the Year honors in 1999 and MAC East Coach of the Year honors in 2022. He was an assistant coach for 29 years at Northeastern State, Northwestern Oklahoma State, Nebraska, North Dakota State and Ohio.

Bielema returns to the AFCA Board of Trustees after serving from 2016-17 when he was the head coach at Arkansas. He completed his third season at Illinois and has an overall record of 115-77 in his 15 seasons as a head coach. In his second season at Illinois, Bielema guided the Illini to an 8-5 record, a second-place finish in the Big Ten West Division and an appearance in the ReliaQuest Bowl. As the head coach at Arkansas from 2013-17, he led the Razorbacks to three straight bowl games, winning two. Bielema started his head coaching career at Wisconsin in 2006. The Badgers went 68-24 under his leadership with three Big Ten titles and seven straight bowl appearances in his seven years as a head coach.

Elliott spent 16 years as an assistant coach before accepting his first head coaching job at Virginia in 2022. The 2024 season will be his third season as the Cavaliers head coach. Elliott spent 11 years as an assistant at Clemson coaching running backs and calling plays as co-offensive coordinator. In 10 of his years, the Tigers won 10 or more games, won six ACC titles and two national titles in 2016 and 2018. He began his coaching career at South Carolina State, spending the 2006 and 2007 seasons as a wide receivers coach. Elliott moved to Furman, again as wide receivers coach, from 2008-10 before joining the Clemson staff in 2011.

Huff completed his third season at Marshall and has an overall record of 22-17. He has led the Thundering Herd to three straight bowl appearances, winning the Myrtle Beach Bowl after the 2022 season when Marshall went 9-4. Huff began coaching football in 2006 at Tennessee State after his playing days at Hampton were over. He spent three years with the Tigers before one-year stops at Maryland (2009), Hampton (2010), Vanderbilt (2011), the Buffalo Bills (2012) and Western Michigan (2013). Huff spent four years at Penn State from 2014-17, helping the Nittany Lions to the 2016 Big Ten title. After spending the 2018 season at Mississippi State, Huff became associate head coach and running backs coach at Alabama from 2019-20.

Like Bret Bielema, Klieman returns to the AFCA Board of Trustees after serving one year in 2018 during his time as the head coach at North Dakota State. He is currently the head coach at Kansas State and has a record of 39-24 in his five seasons. Klieman led the Wildcats to the Big 12 title with a 10-4 record and an Allstate Sugar Bowl appearance in 2022. Kansas State has played in four bowl games under Klieman, winning two. He became the head coach at Kansas State in 2019 after five successful seasons as the head coach at North Dakota State. From 2014-18, Klieman guided the Bison to five Missouri Valley Football Conference titles and four FCS National Championships with an overall record of 69-6. He was named AFCA FCS Regional Coach of the Year in his final season at NDSU in 2018. Klieman began his coaching career as a GA at Northern Iowa in 1991 and served as an assistant coach at Western Illinois, Kansas and Missouri State before being named head coach for the first time at Loras in 2005 after serving as the defensive coordinator for the Duhawks from 2002-04. He returned to Northern Iowa as an assistant coach for five years, then joined the North Dakota State staff in 2011, serving as defensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013 before being named head coach.

Venables was a very successful defensive coordinator for 19 years before taking his first head coaching position at Oklahoma in 2022. He has led the Sooners to 16 wins in his two seasons and two bowl games. Oklahoma went 10-3 and finished second in the Big 12 in 2023 with an appearance in the Alamo Bowl. Venables returned to Oklahoma after serving as co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 1999-2003, then became defensive coordinator and associate head coach from 2004-11. He helped the Sooners to the 2000 national title. Venables went to Clemson and was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 2012-17, then added the associate head coach title from 2018-21, helping the Tigers to two national titles in 2016 and 2018. Venables began his coaching career at Kansas State as a graduate assistant in 1993. He became a full-time assistant coach for the Wildcats in 1996, coaching linebackers until he left for Oklahoma in 1999.

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