In this 1987 file photo, Iowa free safety Dwight Sistrunk, right, reacts to instructions from first-year Iowa defensive back Bobby Elliott during a recent game. Elliott passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 64. (File photo/The Daily Iowan)

Ex-Hawk Bob Elliott remembered


Former Hawkeye defensive back and assistant coach, Bobby Elliott passes away July 8 after a long battle with cancer.

By Jess Westendorf

On July 8, Bobby Elliott, a former Hawkeye football player (1972-1975) and former Hawkeye assistant coach, passed away after a long battle with cancer at the age of 64.

As a defensive back for the Hawkeyes, Elliott had a standout senior season, leading the team in interceptions and pass breakups. He also earned numerous academic honors as well as the NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship in 1976.

After his time as a player was over, Elliott focused on becoming a coach. He went on to coach for 38 years, with 11 of those years at Iowa as an assistant under Hayden Fry (1987-94, 1996-98). He is also the son of former Iowa Athletics Director Bump Elliott.

For the first eight years of his coaching career, Elliott was the secondary coach before transitioning to defensive coordinator for his last three years at Iowa.

During his career, Elliott gained coaching experience at Iowa, Nebraska, San Diego State, Kansas State, Iowa State, Kansas State, Ball State, and North Carolina.

Elliott coached in 18 bowl games during his career as well as the 2012 BCS National Championship game with Notre Dame.

The Fighting Irish went 12-1 that season.

Elliott had a remarkable impact as a college football player but an even bigger one as a college coach. The knowledge and effect he had on college football will always be remembered.

He is survived by wife Joey, children Grant and Jessica, grandchildren Levi and Robin, father Bump, and siblings Bill and Betsy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to Bump, Joey, and the entire Elliott family.  Bob was an outstanding individual with the highest integrity as a person, and as a football coach. Along with being an outstanding player and excelling in academics during his Iowa career, Bob was a dedicated coach and family man, always putting others ahead of himself.  Bob touched the lives of many student-athletes, along with those he coached and worked with throughout his career.  Bob was a great Hawkeye and contributed to our program as a player, coach and graduate of the University of Iowa.” -Head Coach Kirk Ferentz

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bump Elliott and the Elliott family as they mourn their loss.  Bobby was a terrific person.  He loved his family… he loved to coach… and he loved the Hawkeyes.  He will be missed.” -Athletics Director Gary Barta

Below is a statement from the Elliott Family:

“Bob Elliott, our loving son, husband, father, grandfather, and friend, passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Saturday night, July 8, 2017.

“Bob devoted his life to serving as a mentor and coach to countless student-athletes. In his over 40 year career, he was committed to excellence and integrity, sought to bring out the best in everyone, and instilled a sense of hope to all he touched.

“He was a champion and warrior who was steadfast, dedicated, and selfless.  His pride and joy were his wife, children, grandchildren, and family, and although our hearts are broken, his memory lives on through the men and women who loved him throughout his great life.

“Details for a celebration of his life will be shared soon.”

To Our Beloved ‘Coach E’:

“Coach E” Bob Elliott was a special part of my life as a coach, mentor, and most importantly, a friend. He was a father figure when I needed it most. Coach E could be called upon in any situation and was never too busy to help anyone, regardless of circumstances.

Beyond all that which Coach E provided us individually and collectively, he will leave behind a legacy that will last forever in the countless number of lives he touched. He was committed to excellence and positivity. His goal was always to bring out the absolute best in everyone with whom he had the opportunity to interact.

Coach E could see potential in people and was often able to instill a sense of hope in those whose lives he touched. He taught so many people to be responsible for ensuring a positive, sustainable future. He wanted everyone to be a responsible citizen and respected member of their community. He led by example.

The passion with which Coach E used to enrich the lives of Iowa Hawkeye student-athletes and countless others is why I can truly say, Coach E is the greatest coach I ever had. His life is a blueprint to us all of what it truly means to be fully committed to impacting the lives of student-athletes and growing a community filled with excellence, wherever you are in the world.

While I often did so privately and regularly, today I publicly salute you Coach E, Bob Elliott. The many life lessons and experiences you have shared with me will never be forgotten.

Thank you for sharing your light with us all. I will always love and cherish the memories you have provided. I thank God for blessing me with the man who helped me become a man. Rest well, my dear friend and beloved Coach.

With the highest praise, honor, love, and respect,

— Bo Porter

Iowa Hawkeyes

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