Spack Names Steve Farmer Offensive Coordinator
Jan. 2, 2009
NORMAL, Ill. - Former Illinois State center and assistant coach Steve Farmer has returned to his alma mater, as he was tabbed Friday as the first hire in the Brock Spack-era of Redbird football when he was named the ISU offensive coordinator. Farmer comes to Illinois State following a five-year stint at NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) member Louisiana-Monroe, where he spent the last two years as the Warhawks' offensive coordinator.
"Steve comes very highly recommended to us from Louisiana-Monroe's football program," said Spack. "He's an Illinois State alumnus, so that right there intrigued me about him, and the fact that he played and coached at ISU during a very successful time in the program's history (1997-2000) was an added bonus. Steve coached a great spread offense at ULM, and he is very knowledgeable on the type of offense that we are looking to run. I heard many great things about him from people in college football that I highly respect, and I am very excited to have him on our staff."
Farmer is excited to return to his alma mater during a time in which he feels Illinois State is becoming a strong force in NCAA Division I athletics.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for both me and my family," said Farmer. "Illinois State holds a special place in my heart, having graduated there myself, and with my wife also being an ISU alumna. I was really impressed with Coach Spack and the leadership of the University during my interview, particularly the vision that (Director of Athletics) Dr. Zenger and (University President) Dr. Bowman have for the University and its athletic programs. I'm very excited to be returning to Illinois State as the offensive coordinator during such a time of positive change for Redbird Athletics and the ISU football program."
Farmer spent four years at Illinois State - two as a player and two more as an assistant coach - under former head coach Todd Berry.
He coached the ISU defensive tackles in 1999 and tight ends in 2000. In 1999, ISU reached the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Semifinals.
Farmer played center for ISU from 1997-98, and was a member of the Redbirds' 1998 FCS Playoff team. He earned first-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference honors in 1998.
Farmer began his collegiate playing career at one of the most successful junior-college programs in the country, Northeastern Oklahoma A&M.
Farmer spent five years as an assistant coach at Louisiana-Monroe, including the last two seasons overseeing the Warhawk offense. He was promoted to offensive coordinator prior to the 2008 season after sharing the duties in 2007.
Farmer, who joined the ULM staff in 2004 as the offensive line coach, also coached the Warhawk linemen in addition to his offensive coordinator duties.
In his first season at the helm of the ULM offense (2007), the Warhawks posted their highest points per game average since moving to NCAA FBS status in 1994. ULM also posted the sixth-highest yards per game average in school history, averaging 385.7 yards per contest. The Warhawks ranked 16th in the NCAA in rushing and 31st in fewest sacks allowed.
Farmer led one of the best offensive lines in the history of the ULM football program in 2006. Farmer's offensive line guided Calvin Dawson, a two-time Sun Belt rushing champion and ULM's all-time rushing leader, to his best season as a Warhawk.
In 2006, the ULM offensive line ranked fifth nationally, and first in the Sun Belt Conference, with only 13 sacks allowed on the year.
The 2005 Warhawk offensive line allowed quarterback Steven Jyles the opportunity to earn Sun Belt Player of the Year honors and led Louisiana-Monroe to a Sun Belt Conference Championship. ULM allowed just eight sacks on the season, which ranked third nationally, and only one in Sun Belt Conference action.
In 2004, Farmer's first season with the Warhawks, ULM added 41 yards per game to its offense and only allowed seven sacks, the lowest total in the Sun Belt Conference and second-fewest in the nation.
Farmer came to ULM from Eastern Michigan, where the offensive line made the blocks that enabled tailback Anthony Sherrell to run for 1,531 yards, which set an EMU single-season rushing record.
Prior to EMU, Farmer was the offensive line coach at longtime Illinois State rival Eastern Illinois, where in two years, his offensive lines allowed a total of only 17 quarterback sacks and helped EIU average over 35 points per game. He tutored eight All-Ohio Valley Conference linemen in those two seasons. EIU won the 2000 and 2001 OVC titles and advanced to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs both seasons.
Farmer and his wife, Amy, have a daughter, Rebekah (6), and a son, Luke (4).
Steve Farmer COACHING LEDGER