The Redbirds have advanced to the quarterfinals for the third time in school history.
Fall Camp Report: Tight Ends and H-Backs
Sheldon Cross begins his first season as Redbird tight ends and H-backs coach. Cross comes to Illinois State, after serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at NCAA Division II New Mexico-Highlands in 2011.
With Cross at the helm of the offense, the Cowboys started the 2011 season 4-0 for the first time since 1968. After inheriting an offense that averaged just 10 points per game the previous season, Cross' group was one of the top offenses in the country and averaged 46 points per game through the first four games of the season before injuries to the team's quarterbacks took a toll on the offense. The Cowboys also averaged 29 first downs per game during that stretch, which led the country in that category.
Prior to taking over the offense at New Mexico-Highlands, Cross spent the 2010 season as the offensive graduate assistant at Washington State. In that role, he worked with the tight ends and H-backs for the Cougars and assisted the offensive coordinator with all aspects of the passing game.
Originally from Tacoma, Wash., Cross had previously served as the head football coach at Interlake High School in Bellevue, Wash. As head coach at Interlake, Cross led his squad to back-to-back playoffs appearances in 2008 and 2009, the first two for the school in 22 seasons.
For his efforts, Cross garnered Bellevue Reporter Coach of the Year accolades following both seasons, and was also named Coach of the Year by the Kingco Conference and National Football Coaches Association in 2009. His teams also set school records for passing, receiving and rushing in his three seasons at the helm.
Prior to taking over as head coach, Cross worked as Interlake's offensive assistant for then-head coach Huard, the current offensive coordinator at Illinois State. Cross was also the offensive coordinator and coached quarterbacks at Iowa Wesleyan in 2005 and was the assistant quarterbacks coach at Peru State (Nebraska) in 2004 while finishing his degree.
Cross played quarterback at Iowa Wesleyan, starting for two seasons, and set Mid-State Conference rorecords for most attemps and completions in a game. He later went on to play professionally for the Dresden Monarchs in Germany and for the Graz Giants in Austria, whom he led to the EFAF Cup European championship.
Cross attended Stadium High School in Tacoma, where he was named All-Narrows League as a senior. He later received his bachelor's in psychology from Peru State in 2004.
Cross and his wife, Catherine, reside in Normal, Ill., with their son, Wyatt.