The Cincinnati Bearcats officially introduced new secondaries coach Mike Gillhamer to the world today.
I do find it a bit perplexing that UC waited this long to make the announcement. The news was broken a month ago by Fox and he’s been very much inundated in the Bearcats’ spring practices.
Regardless, I find the Gillhamer addition a nice change of pace for Tommy Tuberville to go along with him bringing in Zac Taylor and Jim Turner from the Miami Dolphins, albeit the latter for a brief period. Over his tenure the UC big man has had a habit of giving up and coming coaches important opportunities at Cincinnati. There’s been fairly mixed results, the most questionable being Steve Clinkscale as co-defensive coodinator and former graduate assistant Ty Linder as special teams coordinator.
But by stocking his staff with so many NFL minds, Tuberville is betting on the fact that sheer experience among his coaches will give him a leg up on the rest of the AAC. That absolutely includes Gillhamer’s 15 years at the professional level. It’s not a bad strategy to take and will hopefully yield far more than just seven wins next season.
Gillhamer has nearly four decades of coaching experience, including 15 seasons in the National Football League. He joins the Bearcats after spending the past four seasons as the secondary coach for the Indianapolis Colts.
“Mike brings a lot to our staff with his extensive experience at the college and pro levels,” Tuberville said. “His beliefs about coaching and teaching fundamentals and technique are right in line with my own. He will be a great addition to our coaching staff and we are excited he’s on board with the Bearcats.”
During his tenure with the Colts, defensive backs Vontae Davis, Darius Butler, Mike Adams, and Dwight Lowery all put together career seasons. Prior to his time in Indianapolis, Gillhamer spent 2011 at Illinois, where he made an immediate impact with the Fighting Illini secondary, helping lead the school to a No. 4 national ranking in pass defense in 2011.
Before coaching at Illinois, Gillhamer spent seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers (2004-2010), working with the safeties and secondary unit. In his first season with Carolina in 2004, his tutelage played a role in the Panthers defense that led the NFL with a team-record 26 interceptions and ranked second in the league with 38 takeaways.
He was the defensive coordinator and safeties coach at the University of Louisville in 2003, and the secondary coach at the University of Oregon from 2001-02. He helped the Ducks to a Fiesta Bowl victory and a final No. 2 national ranking in 2001.
Gillhamer began his NFL coaching career as an offensive assistant with the New York Giants in 1997. He assisted with the running backs during his first three seasons before taking over as the running backs coach in 2000. The Giants advanced to the Super Bowl and ranked third in the NFC in rushing in 2000.
Gillhamer broke into coaching at the College of Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., from 1979-1983, overseeing the defensive line for one season before coaching the defensive backs for the remainder of his tenure. He was then the defensive backs coach at Weber State University in 1984, the University of Utah from 1985-89 and San Jose State University from 1990-93. Gillhamer moved to the University of Nevada from 1994-95, where he handled the secondary in his first season and served as the defensive coordinator in 1995. He also worked as the secondary coach at Rutgers University in 1996. Gillhamer served as a guest assistant coach with the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League in 1988.
A native of Fresno, Calif., Gillhamer played defensive back at Carroll College (Mont.) in 1972, Wenatchee Junior College (Wash.) in 1973 and Humboldt State University (Calif.) from 1974-75, where he was named the team’s most valuable defensive back as a senior. He also played baseball and ran track for the Lumberjacks.
He graduated with a degree in physical education from Humboldt State in 1976 and received his master’s degree in special education in 1981.
Gillhamer has two daughters, Meagen and Taylor.