Former Notre Dame assistant coach Bob Elliott dies at 64

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Bob Elliott, a member of Notre Dame’s football coaching staff from 2012 to 2016, died Saturday at the age of 64.

Elliott had been serving as Nebraska’s safeties coach since February until a turn in his health forced him into an off-the-field role as defensive analyst in June. Elliott spent his final days in hospice care in Iowa City and died battling cancer, according to The Des Moines Register.

Elliott, a former Iowa defensive back and longtime assistant coach for the Hawkeyes, joined Notre Dame’s coaching staff in 2012 as a safeties coach. He coached outside linebackers for the Irish in 2014 and was a special assistant to head coach Brian Kelly in 2015 and 2016.

“This was extremely difficult news to hear,” Kelly said in a released statement Sunday. “My heart is with his father, Bump, children, grandchildren and his remarkable wife, Joey. She’s an incredible woman. I, along with hundreds of other coaches and players, were blessed to have him in our lives.

“Bob was as genuine and good of a person that you’d ever meet. Certainly, he was a tremendous football coach, and anyone whoever spent time with him discovered that very quickly. His passion and knowledge for the game was obvious, but it was his love for the players he coached that truly stood out. Bob worked tirelessly to make them better men — not just better football players. He truly wanted them to excel in every facet of their life, whether it be on the field, in the classroom or in the community.

“Bob simply made all of us around him better people. He’ll be missed dearly.”

Elliott started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1976. His résumé included stops at Iowa, Kent State, Ball State, Iowa State, North Carolina, Kansas State, San Diego State, Iowa State, Notre Dame and Nebraska.

After five years with the Irish, Elliott joined former Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco at Nebraska after Diaco was named defensive coordinator for the Cornhuskers in January. Elliott coached at Iowa when Diaco played for the Hawkeyes in the '90s.

"Coach Elliott has been a father figure and mentor to me for almost 30 years," Diaco said in a released statement. "During my life I have met few people that possess the amount of toughness Coach Elliott had, while also possessing the same amount of class. Coach Elliott had unwavering principles and that combination of traits put him in company with very few."

In 1998, Elliott was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer. He fought off the disease with a bone marrow transplant, radiation and chemotherapy throughout the years. Shortly after helping Notre Dame reach the national championship game following the 2012 season, Elliott received a kidney transplant from his sister, Betsy Stough, in February 2013.

Elliott is survived by his wife Joey, children Grant and Jessica, brother Bill, sister Betsy, and father Chalmers “Bump” Elliott.

Many former players and colleagues shared memories of him on social media.

Bob Elliott was in a class by himself - a great husband, father, grandfather, coach & man.

He made everyone better & I'll miss him dearly. pic.twitter.com/QyqYNrwL7r

— Brian Kelly (@CoachBrianKelly) July 9, 2017 

There once was a small man in a big coat that came to snowy MN to watch me play high school football. Even way back then he told me I'd end up switching over and playing defense for the University of Notre Dame one day. Thank you for showing me how to be an absolute soldier! You will be forever remembered #legend

A post shared by James Onwualu (@j_walls) on Jul 9, 2017 at 11:35am PDT

To the man who's heart was always far too big for his body, Thank You. You changed my life and I am forever grateful. #CoachElliotpic.twitter.com/OEwWWgsP9W

— Matthias Farley (@MatthiasFarley) July 9, 2017

One of the best men I've ever met. Rest easy Coach E. pic.twitter.com/ll8u1Uliil

— Tommy Kraemer (@Big_TK78) July 9, 2017

His calling on Earth was to recognize and inspire the greatness of others, and he did so using football as his ministry. R.I.P. Coach ~ pic.twitter.com/tnDaedbgJK

— Daelin Hayes (@DaelinHayes_IX) July 9, 2017

Thankyou Coach Elliot, you were always there to pick me up whenever I struggled. You saw more in me than I saw in myself at times. Rest well https://t.co/OyIIQWBSkb

— Nyles Morgan (@nylesmorgan_5) July 9, 2017

Rest easy Coach E, you earned it.

— Hunter Bivin (@HunterBivin) July 9, 2017

Today the ND community lost one of the kindest, loving, thoughtful coaches I've ever had. Thank you Coach Elliot for everything.

— Jesse Bongiovi (@JesseBND) July 9, 2017

#RestInPeace Coach Elliott a lot of people won't understand the impact you had on the lives of so many young men. You will be missed

— Devin Butler (@DevinButler_12) July 9, 2017

Coach E, your legacy as a football coach and as a man is unrivaled. I’ll always cherish the QB meetings of 2015. This photo says it all. RIP pic.twitter.com/YkYrFOd9Lz

— Coach Mike Sanford (@CoachSanfordWKU) July 9, 2017

Today we lost Bob Elliott, a genuine and caring coach. Few people have advocated for me like he did. Cannot thank him enough. Rest In Peace.

— Nolan Henry (@Nolan_Henry17) July 9, 2017

Saddened by the loss of a great man today. For us that were lucky enough to know him our lives will be forever changed in a positive manner. https://t.co/L1G5vAwR7s

— Pryce Tracy (@CoachTracyND) July 9, 2017

Today Notre Dame Football lost an incredible Coach, Mentor, Leader and Friend. You'll be gone but never forgotten. Rest In Peace Coach ?? pic.twitter.com/SrtoUyFcUJ

— Scott Daly (@sdaly61) July 9, 2017

God Bless Bobby Elliott and his family!! You will be missed Bob!! #RIPBobbyElliott

— Coach Tony Alford (@CoachTonyAlford) July 9, 2017 

A man who always believed in me through all of my ups and downs was lost today. A true inspiration and teacher! RIP Coach Elliott

A post shared by Nicholas C. Watkins (@nicholympus_) on Jul 9, 2017 at 8:45am PDT

RIP coach Elliot you had a positive impact on everyone you interacted with!

— CJ Sanders (@TheLifeofCeej) July 9, 2017

RIP Coach E, you will be greatly missed, thank you for all that you did for me and my teammates over the years!

— Mark Harrell (@MarkHarrell_75) July 9, 2017

RIP BobbyE and Thank you for your Friendship and Guidance. God's Luv and Peace to Joey and your Family. #BallCoachpic.twitter.com/crQPONqq5k

— Mike Denbrock (@MikeDenbrock) July 9, 2017

Thank you for everything Coach E

Ur example/friendship meant more to me than u know

I want to thank your wife Joey for sharing you with us pic.twitter.com/9U3ZSEkYxj

— Scott Booker (@CoachSBooker) July 9, 2017

He lived the same way he coached: with passion, love, and laughter. RIP to a great man. You will be greatly missed BobbyE #gonetoosoonpic.twitter.com/tjmhGOEhxN

— Jaz Johnson (@JazJohnsoND) July 9, 2017

You moved lives in a direction that not many others today still can. You're missed and loved by all. RIP Coach BobbyE pic.twitter.com/dyuXdt4mSt

— Brandon Wimbush (@WimbushB7) July 9, 2017

RIP coach Elliot. Kindest most loving person I ever met. Grateful to have had you around during my time at ND. I'll never forget.

— DaVaris Daniels (@SincerelyToot) July 9, 2017

Many will miss you Coach E.. I know I will. You are a huge part of my success!!!! #RIPCoachElliotpic.twitter.com/Vp6vxWnpo3

— Keivarae Russell (@Keivarae1) July 9, 2017

A great man, coach, and mentor. Rest In Peace Coach Elliot.

— DeShone Kizer (@DKizer_14) July 9, 2017

Man nothing but positive energy ever came from this man. Rest in paradise coach https://t.co/FjK5DFgWMa

— Josh Barajas (@ScoopNScore11) July 9, 2017

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