Chris Ash, Head Football Coach at Rutgers will headline the 2018 IFCA Coaches Clinic this spring.
Ash, who has longtime ties to the state of Iowa via coaching stints at Drake and Iowa State returns to Iowa to speak at the Friday session of the coaches clinic starting at 9:00 pm.
A coach with a national championship pedigree, Ash enjoyed a decorated and accomplished career prior to arriving “On the Banks,” including five years in the Big Ten Conference (four as a defensive coordinator) with four Big Ten championships.
An accomplished and decorated coach, Ash built a reputation as a relentless and tireless worker throughout his various stops. Upon becoming the 30th head coach in the 147-year history at the Birthplace of College Football, Ash made clear his vision for the Scarlet Knights program - “I want to build a first-class program here, a program that the University, the State of New Jersey, high school coaches and high school players can be proud to say that this program is theirs and they want to come here and be a part of it.”
Ash has embarked on outlining the plans to complete that vision, which includes a mission to create an environment to develop student-athletes mentally, physically and spiritually to reach their full potential and to be successful in life after football.
In his previous post before Rutgers, Ash served as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach at Ohio State and helped lead the Buckeyes to the 2014 national championship.
In his five seasons as a defensive coordinator, Ash pioneered four groups ranked in the top 25 statistically, including a top-10 defensive unit in 2015. As the defense coordinator at Wisconsin in 2011 and 2012, the Badgers put together back-to-back seasons ranked 15th overall in total defense. The 2011 squad was 13th in scoring defense while the 2012 team turned in a 17th-place ranking.
Ash was hired by Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer in January 2014 to improve a Buckeye defense that placed 112th in pass defense and 47th in total defense in 2013. In his first season, OSU's defense ranked 19th nationally in total defense and 29th in pass defense. The Buckeyes also ranked fourth in the country with 24 interceptions en route to Big Ten, Sugar Bowl and national championships.
In 2015, the Ohio State defense continued its strides under Ash, ranking second in scoring defense nationally and ninth-best in total defense. The Buckeyes earned a berth in the Fiesta Bowl, finishing the season with a 12-1 record after defeating Notre Dame in the bowl game.
The 2016 NFL Draft saw numerous players from Ash’s defensive unit selected, including the first overall defensive player in Joey Bosa, who was picked third by the San Diego Chargers. In all, the draft featured six defensive players taken from Ohio State with three in the first round.
Prior to taking over the OSU defense, Ash held the defensive coordinator post and coached the secondary at the University of Arkansas in the Southeastern Conference in 2013 under head coach Bret Bielema. He helped improve Arkansas' pass defense in his one season in Fayetteville, with the Razorbacks' defense finishing 72nd nationally in passing yards allowed after ranking 113th in 2012.
Ash was first promoted to the defensive coordinator role in the Big Ten while at the University of Wisconsin, where he spent three seasons with the Badgers. His 2011 defense led the Big Ten (conference games only) in total defense and pass defense efficiency, and it ranked fourth nationally in fewest passing yards allowed (163.6), 13th in scoring (19.0) and 15th in total defense (316.4). In 2012, the UW defense ranked 15th nationally in total defense (322.5), 17th in scoring (19.1), 18th in fewest passing yards allowed (193.6), 22nd in pass efficiency and 24th against the run (128.9).
Ash began his coaching career as a defensive graduate assistant at his alma mater, Drake University, in 1997. He was promoted to defensive coordinator for the next two seasons before moving on to Iowa State University in 2000. Ash spent eight seasons over two different stints in Ames, including the 2009 season, during which current Texas head coach Tom Herman was also on the staff. Ash progressed from graduate assistant with the Cyclones in 2000-01 to defensive backs coach for a total of six seasons.
Ash spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons at San Diego State University as the defensive backs coach and recruiting coordinator under head coach and College Football Hall of Fame inductee Chuck Long.
Ash has produced numerous instructional videos, including a three-video series -- "Aggressive 4-3 Defense" -- that includes shutting down the passing game and stuffing the run segments. He has coached 34 different players that have gone on to sign NFL contracts.
A native of Ottumwa, Iowa, Ash earned his undergraduate degree from Drake in 1996, and was a two-time letterwinner at defensive back for the Bulldogs. He is one of three from that era of Drake football who became a FBS head coach, joining Dave Doeren (NC State) and Charlie Partridge (formerly with Florida Atlantic). Ash completed his master's degree in education from Iowa State in 2005.