Jake Schoonover begins his fourth season as a member of the Illinois State coaching staff and will assist head coach Brock Spack working with the Redbird linebackers at ISU. He also begins his third season as the special team coordinator at ISU.
Schoonover has helped mold middle linebacker Pat Meehan into one of the best young linebackers in the MVFC. In 2013, Meehan led the Redbirds with 82 tackles and added two sacks, despite missing two games due to injury. For his efforts, Meehan was named a second-team All-MVFC performer.
In his duties as special team coordinator, Schoonover also worked with kicker Nick Aussieker, who earned All-MVFC honorable mention accolades in 2013. The Redbirds also returned a pair of kicks for touchdowns, which included a 100-yard kickoff return by Josh Burch and a 62-yard punt return by Anthony Warrum. It marked the first time since 2008 in which the Redbird returned a kickoff and punt for touchdown in the same season.
When Spack took over the defensive coordinator duties prior to the 2011 season, he sought out an assistant coach to work primarily with the Redbird linebackers and assist with day-to-day duties. Spack found that man in Schoonover, who helped turn around the Redbird defense in 2011 and worked with First-Team All-MVFC performer Evan Frierson and Josh Howe, who was named to the All-MVFC Honorable Mention Team.
Schoonover is no stranger to the Illinois State football program. In 2009, he served as a volunteer assistant coach working with the Redbird offensive line and wide receivers on Spack's first staff at ISU.
Schoonover came to Illinois State, after spending one season on the Illinois Wesleyan coaching staff working with the defensive backs for head coach Norm Eash in 2010. Schoonover also assisted with special teams duties and served as the junior varsity team's defensive coordinator, leading them to a 6-0 record with three shutouts.
Schoonover was the defensive ends coach at his alma mater, Missouri Western State, for a season before working with the Redbirds in 2009. During his career at Missouri Western State, Schoonover started in 30 games at linebacker and was a team captain for the Griffons.
Following his collegiate career, he played linebacker and wide receiver in 2008 and 2009 for the arena league Peoria Pirates, serving as team captain in 2009.
Schoonover earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from MWSU in 2008 and received a master's degree in 2010 from American Public University. He and his wife, Katherine, reside in Normal, Ill.