Jan. 26, 2007
Jay Norvell, who has spent the last three seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at the University of Nebraska, has been hired as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at UCLA, Bruin head coach Karl Dorrell announced today. Norvell spent two seasons on the staff of the Oakland Raiders prior to joining the Nebraska staff.
During Norvell's three years on the Husker staff, Nebraska produced some of the best passing statistics in school history while running the West Coast Offense. In 2006, Nebraska was one of just two schools (Louisville was the other) to rank in the Top 25 in rushing offense, passing offense, total offense and scoring offense. The Cornhuskers ranked 23rd nationally in passing, averaging 244.1 yards per game; 23rd in rushing, averaging 170.5 yards on the ground; 14th in total offense, averaging 414.6 yards per game; and 17th in scoring, averaging 30.6 points per game.
"Jay has a great background in offensive football and has experienced success both in the collegiate ranks and the NFL," said Dorrell. "He has coached several different positions, giving him an understanding of offenses from various viewpoints.
"Under his leadership, Nebraska has set numerous passing records while continuing to have a potent running attack. He has a great understanding of our offensive schemes and will help our program continue to build on our previous success."
In 2006, senior quarterback Zac Taylor earned Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. He set school records with 3,197 passing yards and 26 touchdowns while completing 233 of 391 passes to lead the Cornhuskers to a 9-5 record and a Big 12 North title. He also set a school total offense record with 3,165 yards and ranked 20th nationally in passing efficiency. In 2005, Taylor, a junior college transfer, broke the Nebraska single-game records for passing yards (431), completions (36), attempts (55) and total offense (433), as well as single-season Husker marks for completions (237) and attempts (430).
During his first campaign in Lincoln (2004), Norvell, 43, helped the Husker quarterbacks post the fifth 2,000-plus yard passing season in program history. Nebraska's 186.9 passing yards per game in 2004 were its highest in nearly three decades, since averaging 188.0 per game in 1976.
In addition to his duties coaching the quarterbacks and coordinating the offense, Norvell also directed the Huskers' Elite Quarterback Camp in the summer and had oversight responsibility for Nebraska's video operations. In May 2006, Norvell was also one of 25 participants at the Expert Coaches Academy, an NCAA initiative that addresses a critical shortage in ethnic minorities in head coaching positions within college football. The academy assists coaches with career advancement, networking and exposure opportunities.
Prior to joining the Huskers, Norvell coached the Oakland Raider tight ends under current Nebraska head coach Bill Callahan in 2002 and 2003. A key component for Oakland, the tight ends were led by Doug Jolley, who topped 30 receptions in each season, including 32 catches for 409 yards in Oakland's drive to the AFC Championship in 2002.
In 2002, the Raiders featured the most prolific offense in the National Football League, averaging nearly 390 total offense yards per game. Norvell played a key role in designing the Raiders' passing attack that averaged 279.7 yards per contest. Oakland culminated the season with two explosive offensive efforts in the playoffs, defeating the New York Jets 30-10, before gaining a 41-24 victory over the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game.
Before joining the Raiders, Norvell spent one month on Bob Stoops' Oklahoma staff in 2002 as wide receivers coach.
From 1998 through 2001, he served as wide receivers coach for the Indianapolis Colts, working with the passing game and tutoring All-Pro receiver Marvin Harrison.
In Norvell's final season with the Colts, Harrison had 109 catches for 1,524 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2002, Harrison became the only player in league history to have four consecutive 100-catch seasons. While he was coached by Norvell, Harrison had 385 receptions for 5,376 yards and 48 touchdowns.
Before his jump to the NFL with the Colts, Norvell had established himself as one of the top young assistants in college football. During his time as a college coach, Norvell has mentored 10 players that went on to professional careers.
Norvell spent the 1995 through 1997 seasons on Dan McCarney's staff at Iowa State, serving as assistant head coach and quarterbacks and receivers coach. Under Norvell, the ISU passing attack improved by nearly 100 yards per game in 1997, when wideout Ty Watley led the Big 12 with 827 receiving yards.
Norvell had worked with McCarney as an assistant at Wisconsin. Norvell was with the Badgers from 1989 to 1994, serving the final five of those years with Callahan as the offensive line coach.
Norvell helped the Badger program to a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl berth against UCLA in 1993. Wisconsin finished the season with a 10-1-1 record and a No. 6 final national ranking. In Norvell's final season at UW, the Badgers finished 8-3-1 and played in the Hall of Fame Bowl. Both Callahan (Philadelphia Eagles) and Norvell (Iowa State) left Wisconsin following the 1994 campaign. Wide receiver Lee DeRamus was Norvell's top product at Wisconsin, compiling 119 catches for 1,974 yards and 15 touchdowns from 1991 to 1993.
Norvell began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Iowa in 1986 before joining the Northern Iowa staff in 1988.
A native of Madison, WI, Norvell played at Iowa from 1982 to 1985. He was an All-Big Ten defensive back in 1985, leading the league with seven interceptions, and helped Iowa to a league title and a Rose Bowl appearance. At Iowa, Norvell was associated with five bowl teams, including two Rose Bowl squads (1981, 1985 versus UCLA), a pair of Big Ten championship teams and a team that spent five weeks ranked No. 1 in 1985.
Norvell earned a bachelor of arts degree from Iowa in 1986.
Norvell played one season as a member of the Chicago Bears in 1987.
Norvell, born March 28, 1963, and his wife, Kim, also a native of Wisconsin, have a son, Jaden.