The University of Central Oklahoma named alumnus Nick Bobeck as the 13th head football coach in school history Wednesday afternoon.
It is a homecoming for Bobeck, who spent seven years at Central as a player and graduate assistant.
“I’m extremely excited about the new chapter about to begin here at the University of Central Oklahoma,” Bobeck said. “I’m very proud to be here because not many people get the chance to come back to their alma mater. I have two degrees from this institution and I’m very proud of that.”
He mentioned his thoughts as he passed Old North coming onto campus and saw the renovated Wantland Stadium.
“I can’t wait to see the product we put on the field,” Bobeck said, stressing the emphasis he would put on effort on and off the field.
“We’re gonna build everything we do on effort. Effort is something we’ll work toward every day, whether it be on the field, in the weight room or in the classroom.
“Intercollegiate athletics are about education,” he said. “I’m going to put together a staff of teachers. We’re going to strive to see that each of these kids gets an education.”
Bobeck was a Broncho fullback from 1999-2002; he was a two-year starter and made the All-Conference North Division first team as a senior.
“Coaches at every level applied for this job,” UCO Athletic Director Joe Muller said. “We had both quality and quantity.”
Muller said the school was looking for a coach with experience as a Division II player and coach.
“We were looking for someone who understands UCO’s priorities,” Muller said, including NCAA compliance, academics and “moxie” — the ability to motivate and capture attention.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we found him,” Muller said.
Bobeck served as a graduate assistant at both UCO and Texas A&M. He then spent a year as offensive coordinator and four years as head coach at Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas.
Bobeck was named the NJCAA Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a 10-1 record in his first season as head coach. He compiled a 42-5 record and a national championship in four years at the school.
Bobeck did perhaps his best coaching job in 2011, leading the Bulldogs to a 10-2 record and a Heart of Texas Bowl victory over New Mexico Military Institute. Bobeck lost 16 scholarship players during the season to injuries and disciplinary issues. Down to their fourth-string running back and walk-on players playing key roles, the Bulldogs won their second straight postseason conference title by defeating Tyler. Navarro finished the season ranked fifth in the nation, its fourth straight top five finish.
UCO ranks among the Division II leaders in all-time wins with 593 and the two-time national champion Bronchos will begin play in the rugged Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association in 2012 after playing last season as an independent. MIAA member Pittsburg State won the Division II national title in 2011.
Nick and his wife, Keely, are expecting their first child, a boy, in April.
Bobeck said the majority of his recruits would be from in the state of Oklahoma. He said he was most excited about meeting his players for the first time in the upcoming days.
“My first job will be to sell myself to the kids,” Bobeck said. “Trust is probably the hardest thing. You can teach X’s and O’s, but you have to build trust. I’ve got to recruit the kids that are on campus first.”
The Corsicana (Texas) Daily Sun and the UCO Athletic Department contributed to this report.