Svoboda named coordinator of the Tulane Football Offensive

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NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – Tulane University head football coach Willie Fritz today announced the arrival of Jim Svoboda, as the new offensive coordinator of the Green Wave. Svoboda comes to Tulane after spending 11 years in central Missouri, where he served as the Mules’ head coach.

During his time in Warrensburg, Missouri, the Mules broke 108 school offensive records and 21 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) offensive records. He coached 28 All-Americans, including seven on the First Team, and 158 All-MIAA student-athletes, including 36 First-Team selections. In the classroom, seven Central Missouri players were recognized with CoSIDA Academic All-American honors, and 305 student-athletes were named to the conference’s Academic Honor Roll.

“We are extremely excited to bring Jim Svoboda and his wife Susan to Tulane University,” said head coach Willie Fritz. “Coach Svoboda has managed some of the nation’s best attacking players at various levels throughout his career. He’s a proven winner wherever he goes and I know he’ll be a great fit for our program as we move forward.”

As head coach in Central Missouri, Svoboda led the Mules to seven seasons with at least eight wins, six postseason appearances, five postseason wins, and three playoff appearances in the NCAA. He also coached 14 mules who later signed NFL contracts.

“First of all, I’m honored to have the opportunity to work at a legendary university with the global recognition of Tulane University,” said Svoboda. “Second, it’s a privilege to be part of the amazing team that Coach Fritz put together and coach the talented players he brought to Tulane. I can’t wait to formulate a plan to put these players in the best position to succeed. Fans will see an exciting, productive attacking style that will ultimately help Tulane win many games.”

From 1987 to 1993, Svoboda was the head coach at Nebraska Wesleyan. During that time, he led NWU to an overall record of 52-19, three conference titles and three national playoff appearances. Svoboda was the first coach in school and conference history to win an NAIA playoff game. NWU was ranked 52 out of a possible 55 weeks during his seven-year tenure, and he was named NIAC Coach of the Year three times. Nebraska Wesleyan has made five total playoff games in school history, three of them under Svoboda. In the summer of 2013, he was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Svoboda has enjoyed success at all levels, winning national championships at the Division II and NAIA levels as an assistant coach, and appearing in three bowl games at the FBS Division I level. He has a combined record of 284-118 as a head coach and assistant coach .

During the 2021 campaign, Central Missouri led the MIAA and ranked sixth in the NCAA Division II in passing offense with 3,668 total yards and 333.5 yards per game through the air. UCM quarterback Logan Twehous led the conference in passing, throwing for 3,013 yards and 301.3 yards per game for 28 touchdowns, while receiver Cam Saunders led the MIAA and finished second in the NCAA-II with 1,438 yards. He added 10 TDs and 130.7 yards per game.

In 2019, Svoboda moved to second all-time in coaching wins in Central Missouri, surpassing 80 with his 11-2 mark. In his first decade, he has led UCM to an 81-36 overall score, including a 72-31 at the MIAA -Game. He has led the Mules to six postseason appearances and two 11-win seasons, the most wins UCM has had in a single season. With a win rate of .692, Svoboda also has the second highest win rate of any mules trainer with at least four years at the helm and the highest with at least 30 games coached.

The 2019 season was one of the best in mules football history. UCM won 11-2, earning their highest overall win in a season and clinching their first MIAA championship since 2003. The Mules made their sixth postseason trip under Svoboda, going 1-1 in the NCAA postseason, the included a 37-27 win at home against Indianapolis in only their second home playoff game. The Mules led the country in overall offense averaging 547.5 yards per game and finished fifth in D2 with 44.8 points per game. Four mules were named All-Americans, quarterback Brook Bolles, tight end Zach Davidson, center Jake Heckler and wide receiver Shae Wyatt. Five different publications named Davidson a First Team All-American, while Bolles was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy for the second time in his career. UCM’s offense broke 17 records during the season, including points per game (44.8), total offense (7,117 yards), and single-game touchdown passes (7).

Following the 2019 campaign, Svoboda was named MIAA Coach of the Year and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year.

In the 11 years since Svoboda joined the MIAA, the Mules are the No. 1 team on total offense with 470.4 yards per game and No. 2 on offense with 37.1 points per game. UCM’s six postseason appearances are also the second most in the league, and the 81 wins are the third most in MIAA.

Prior to his arrival in Central Missouri, Svoboda spent three years as an assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Montana State, a member of Division I-FCS, helping the Bobcats win every year there and finish in the top 25 nationally in 2009.

Svoboda’s first year at UCM in 2010 proved to be the best of any coach in school history, helping the Mules to a school record 11-3 and an 8-1 in the MIAA to finish runners-up. He also led UCM to its second appearance in the NCAA Playoffs, as well as their first home playoff game and playoff win in school history as the Mules advanced to the NCAA-II National Quarterfinals. The offense was just as good, breaking every school record and boasting four first-team All-MIAA and All-American players, including MIAA Player of the Year, South Central Region Player of the Year and Harlon Hill Award winner , quarterback Eric Czerniewski, the only Harlon Hill winner in school history. The 2010 Mules also became the first team in NCAA-II history to have a 5,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

Svoboda was UCLA’s quarterbacks coach from 2004-06 and helped lead the Bruins to three bowl games and only their seventh ten-win season in that span. In 2006, he served as the program’s offensive coordinator. UCLA won the 2005 Sun Bowl and upset second-place cross-town rivals USC in 2006. For his efforts, he was a finalist for the 2005 Broyles Award, given to the nation’s top assistant coach at the Division I-FBS level. He coached UCLA quarterback Drew Olson for two seasons and helped him set numerous school records, placing second nationally in touchdown passes, fifth in passing efficiency, and eighth in the 2005 Heisman poll.

Prior to UCLA, he spent 10 seasons at MIAA rival Northwest Missouri State as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (1994-2003). He helped the Bearcats to back-to-back Division II National Championships in 1998 and 1999 while winning five straight MIAA titles and 41 straight MIAA games. He averaged more than 450 yards and 40 points per game over a six-year period there, and led the nation in scoring in both 1998 and 2000. His teams also broke more than 70 team, MIAA, and NCAA offensive records as a national mark of 15 wins in a season. He was also named Offensive Coordinator of the Year by American Football Coaches Magazine in 1998.

Svoboda, who graduated from Northwestern College in Iowa in 1983, began his coaching career at his alma mater that fall, where he won a national championship, 14-0, as the running backs coach. He then joined Dana College in Nebraska in 1984 as an offensive line and strength coach. In 1986, he earned his master’s degree in Eastern New Mexico, where he served as the running backs coach in 1985 and helped them finish second in the Lone Star Conference.

What they say about Jim Svoboda…

“Jim Svoboda is one of the best coaches I have ever experienced. He is adept at creating situations where attacks can be successful. He’s one of the main reasons I had the opportunity to play professional football for 14 years. The way he designs plays, the way he thinks, his attacking team mentality is just great. I am very happy that he is back at the Division I level.”

-Chris Greisen, two-time All-American at Northwest Missouri State and 1999 NFL draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals

“I instilled my faith in him and the plans he had for me and our relationship grew from there. He put me on an offense that really took advantage of the tight end and he helped me get to where I’ve only got a chance to play now. Just seeing what he did with multiple players was amazing.”

-Zach Davidson, 2020 NFL draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings

THE FILE JIM SVOBODA

personally
Hometown: Denison, Iowa

Family: Suzanne (wife)

gaming experience

Northwest College (1978-82)

alma mater

Bachelor degree: Northwest College, 1983

Master’s degree: Eastern New Mexico, 1986

coaching experience
1983: Northwestern College (running backs coach)
1984: Dana College (offensive live and strength coach)
1985-86: Eastern New Mexico (running backs coach)

1987-93: Nebraska Wesleyan (head coach)
1994-2003: Northwest Missouri State (quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator)
2004-06: UCLA (Quarterbacks Coach)
2007-09: Montana State (Assistant Head Coach/Quarterbacks Coach)
2010–21: Central Missouri (head coach)

{Press release courtesy of Tulane Athletics}

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