The University of Central Missouri announced today that Jim Svoboda will be the 28th Head Football Coach in the 115-year history of the program. Athletic Director Jerry Hughes will officially introduce him at a press conference in the UCM Multipurpose Building Alumni Room on Tuesday, January 19 at 1:00 p.m.
“Jim has been a consistent winner everywhere he has been and is the perfect fit for our program and our institution” Hughes said. “His blend of success as an NAIA head coach, a championship caliber assistant in the MIAA and an assistant at the highest levels of college football combined with his personality, work ethic and class should have Mules fans extremely excited for the future.”
Svoboda has experienced success at every level, winning national championships at the Division II and NAIA level as an assistant coach, as well as bowl game and playoff appearances at the FCS and FBS Division I levels. He boasts a combined 213-85 record as both a head and assistant coach.
Svoboda comes to UCM after three years as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Division I-FCS member Montana State, and helped the Bobcats to winning seasons each year there, as well as a top 25 final national ranking in 2009.
He has also coached and recruited many great players during his career, including 36 All-Americans, a National Player of the Year, 12 NFL draft picks and signees, and numerous record-breaking quarterbacks.
Svoboda served as UCLA’s quarterbacks coach from 2004-06, helping lead the Bruins to three bowl games and only their seventh 10-win season ever in that span. He served as the program’s offensive coordinator in 2006. UCLA won the 2005 Sun Bowl and upset second-ranked cross-town rival USC in 2006. For his efforts, he was a finalist for the 2005 Broyles Award, presented to the nation’s top assistant coach at the Division I-FBS level. He coached UCLA quarterback Drew Olson for two seasons, helping him set numerous school passing records, ranking second in the nation in touchdown passes, fifth in pass efficiency, and eighth in the 2005 Heisman voting.
Prior to his time at UCLA, he was at MIAA rival Northwest Missouri State for 10 seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (1994-2003). He helped the Bearcats to back-to-back Division II National Championships in 1998 and 1999 while winning five consecutive MIAA titles and winning 41 MIAA games in a row. In a six-year span there, his prolific offenses averaged more than 450 yards and 40 points a game, leading the nation in scoring in both 1998 and 2000. His teams broke more than 70 team, MIAA, and NCAA offensive records, as well as a national mark of 15 wins in one season. He also earned American Football Coaches Magazine Offensive Coordinator of the Year honors in 1998.
His head coaching experience comes from his time at NAIA-member Nebraska Wesleyan. He went there in 1986 as the running backs coach before being named head coach the following season. As the head man from 1987-93, he led Nebraska Wesleyan to a 52-19 overall record, three conference titles, and three national playoff appearances. Svoboda was the first coach in school and conference history to win an NAIA playoff game. NWU was ranked in 52 of a possible 55 weeks during his seven year tenure, and he was named NIAC Coach of the Year three times. Nebraska Wesleyan has made five total playoff appearances in school history, three of them under Svoboda.
A 1983 graduate of Northwestern College in Iowa, Svoboda began his coaching career at his alma mater that fall, winning a national championship at 14-0 as the running backs coach. He then moved to Dana College in Nebraska as offensive line and strength coach in 1984. He earned his master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico in 1986, serving as the running backs coach there in 1985 and helping them to a runner-up finish in the Lone Star Conference.
Svoboda and his wife, Susan, will reside in Warrensburg. The 49-year old is a native of Dennison, Iowa.