Bloomgren named new Rice football coach

By Chuck Pool

Rice University Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard announced Mike Bloomgren as the school’s 19th head football coach at a news conference Dec. 6. Bloomgren, who most recently served as associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Stanford has agreed to a five-year contract.

Rice head football coach Mike Bloomgren

Mike Bloomgren photo courtesy of Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

“The football program is important to our university and this community,” Karlgaard said. “Mike Bloomgren is a bright, driven and relentless coach who fits perfectly with our vision for championships on the field, scholarship in the classroom and service to others. I’m grateful to President Leebron for his support and assistance in recruiting the Bloomgrens to Rice. I can’t wait for Mike, Lara, Tyler and Parker to join us in Houston.”

“I am excited and humbled to lead the football program at Rice,” Bloomgren said. “In my seven years at Stanford, I have seen firsthand how elite college athletics and academics can not only coexist but thrive together. I want to create an environment at Rice where every player’s dreams are realized on and off the field.”

Bloomgren, who replaces David Bailiff, comes to Rice after seven seasons with the Cardinal, first as the offensive line coach (2011-12) and then assuming the reins of Stanford’s pro-style offensive attack in 2013, which set the stage for one of the most successful decades in the program’s history. Stanford has won eight or more games in each of Bloomgren’s seasons and reached the Pac-12 Football Championship four times, winning three titles.

Prior to 2017, Bloomgren had coached 12 NFL draft selections and 11 All-America selections at Stanford, including 2015 Outland Trophy winner Joshua Garnett and NCAA all-purpose yardage record holder Christian McCaffrey.

The 2017 campaign has seen running back Bryce Love nearly match McCaffrey’s production on his way to being named a finalist for both the Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award.

Love burst out of the gate with 180 yards on 13 carries against Rice in the season opener in Sydney and completed the regular season with 1,973 yards on the ground, second only to McCaffrey’s school-record 2,019 in 2015.

Bloomgren’s 2016 unit ended the season on a six-game winning streak in which the offense produced 290.5 rushing yards per game, the most by any Power 5 program over that stretch. McCaffrey, the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers, earned All-America honors for the second-straight season and was an All-Pac-12 first-team running back. His 183.87 career all-purpose yards per game were the most of any active FBS player at season’s end, and his 6,987 career all-purpose yards were second-most of any active FBS player.

Bloomgren was instrumental in the breakout season posted in 2015 by McCaffrey, that season’s Associated Press Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy finalist. McCaffrey, the program’s single-season rushing leader, led the nation in all-purpose yards while breaking Barry Sanders’ NCAA record.

In 2015, Stanford amassed a school-record 3,131 rushing yards on 610 attempts that season, the most by the program. The offensive unit’s 529 points ranked second-most in a season; its 33 rushing touchdowns, 223.7 rushing yards/game, 30 passing touchdowns, 37.8 points per game and 6,097 total yards of offense ranked third.

Stanford scored at least 30 points in a national-best 13 consecutive games and led the nation in time of possession (34:48), the seventh-best by any team in the past 20 years.

Mike Bloomgren at podium at news conference

Mike Bloomgren photo courtesy of Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

Four Cardinal heard their names called at the NFL draft following the 2015 season, including first-round selection Garnett, Stanford’s unanimous first team All-America — and only the ninth in school history. Garnett was the program’s first Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top interior lineman and won the Morris Trophy, presented to the Pac-12 Lineman of the Year.

Bloomgren’s linemen were named a finalist for the inaugural Joe Moore Award in 2015, given to the nation’s top offensive line.

While facing six nationally ranked opponents in 2014, including four on the road, Bloomgren helped Stanford win eight games. The Cardinal scored at least 30 points in seven of 13 games on the season and increased its nation-best streak of scoring at least 10 points to 95 games. Stanford also set a record for the most points in a bowl game in program history with 45 in the Foster Farms Bowl win against Maryland.

Stanford amassed a program-best 2,904 rushing yards during the 2013 season, Bloomgren’s first year at the offensive helm.

Individual honors are closely tied to Bloomgren. He has earned recognition for both his coaching and recruiting prowess. named Bloomgren one of its 2014 National Recruiters of the Year — the latest such honor that began in 2012 when ESPN recognized him as its Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year. tabbed Bloomgren as one of the nation’s top-25 recruiters in 2016. named Bloomgren its 2013 Offensive Line Coach of the Year following two years of eye-opening accomplishments.

Bloomgren joined the Cardinal staff as offensive line coach and run game coordinator in 2011 after spending four seasons with the New York Jets, where he served as assistant offensive coordinator (2010), offensive assistant (2009) and offensive quality control coach (2007-08).

In 2013, all five offensive linemen received All-Pac-12 honors, including first-team selection David Yankey. Yankey was named Stanford’s first two-time, first-team All-American selection since Bob Whitfield (1990-91). One of four senior starters on the offensive line in 2013, Yankey was also selected as a semifinalist for the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award.

Four of Bloomgren’s five starting offensive linemen earned All-Pac-12 honors in 2012, including first-teamer Yankey.

Yankey was the winner of the league’s 2012 Morris Trophy. The consensus All-American was Stanford’s first winner of the award since 2002.

The Cardinal offensive line afforded 200-plus yards rushing in six games during the 2012 season, paving the way for record-breaking running back Stepfan Taylor. The Doak Walker Award semifinalist produced the best season of his career (109.29 yards per game).

Rice head football coach Mike Bloomgren and family

Mike Bloomgren and family photo courtesy of Tommy LaVergne/Rice University

Bloomgren’s work with the offensive line in 2011, which included three first-year starters, played a pivotal role in providing protection for Heisman finalist Andrew Luck to complete over 70 percent of his passes and throw a school-record 37 touchdowns in addition to compiling the third-highest rushing total in school annals. Stanford’s ground game keyed an offense that ranked seventh nationally in scoring average at 43.2 points per game and eighth in total offense at 489.3 yards per game.

Bloomgren launched his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant for Bobby Bowden at Florida State, where the Seminoles captured a pair of Atlantic Coast Conference titles (1997-98) during his tenure. He served as co-offensive coordinator at Catawba College from 2002 to 2004 and offensive coordinator at Delta State in 2006. A 1999 graduate of Florida State with a bachelor’s degree in sports management, Bloomgren earned his master’s degree in higher education from Alabama in 2001.

A native of Tallahassee, Florida, Mike and his wife, Lara, have two sons, Tyler and Parker.

Mike Bloomgren introductory news conference
Flickr gallery photos courtesy of Tommy LaVergne/Rice University.


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