Steve Stanard will enter his 28th year of coaching at the college level in 2015 and will begin his 19th year as a defensive coordinator. Stanard will be the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Wyoming Cowboys for the second consecutive season. In his first year coaching the Wyoming defense, he coached linebacker Mark Nzeocha, who was the 19th pick in the seventh round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Stanard’s 2014 Cowboy defense also featured First Team All-Mountain West defensive end Eddie Yarbrough, who will return for his senior season in 2015. Stanard was the linebackers coach at North Dakota State in 2012 and ‘13, helping the Bison capture NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) National Titles after each of those two seasons.
The 2013 NDSU squad became the first undefeated (15-0) FCS National Champion since Marshall went 15-0 to win the 1996 title. That 15-0 record by the Bison also set a North Dakota State school record. NDSU extended its winning streak to 24 consecutive games with the 2013 FCS Championship. That tied both the FCS and NDSU records for consecutive victories. The University of Pennsylvania set the FCS record of 24 consecutive wins from 1992-95. Montana later tied the record from 2001-02. The NDSU record was originally set from 1964-66. In Stanard’s two years on the North Dakota State staff, the Bison posted a combined overall record of 29-1 and a Missouri Valley Football Conference record of 15-1.
Stanard has been a part of five bowl games and three national playoff appearances as a college coach.
As the linebackers coach at North Dakota State in 2012 and ‘13, Stanard helped the Bison rank No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense each of those two seasons, holding opponents to only 11.5 points per game in 2012 and only 11.3 points per game in 2013.
The 2013 Bison defense also ranked: No. 3 in the FCS in total defense (255.9 yards per game); No. 2 in the nation in pass efficiency defense (97.59 rating); No. 3 in rushing defense (91.3 yards allowed per game); and No. 8 in passing yards allowed (164.6 yards per game).
In addition to leading the nation in scoring defense in 2012, NDSU: led the nation in total defense (234.5 yards allowed per game); was No. 1 in fewest first downs allowed (12.67 per game); ranked No. 2 in pass defense (140.6 yards allowed per game); and ranked No. 4 in rushing defense (93.9 yards allowed per game).
In 2013, Stanard coached Third Team All-America linebacker Grant Olson, who was honored as an All-American by the Associated Press. Olson set a school record with 29 tackles in NDSU’s 14-7 win over Wofford College in the 2012 NCAA FCS quarterfinals.
Stanard’s experience as a defensive coordinator includes three seasons as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Tulane (2009-11), five years as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Colorado State (2003-07) under former head coach Sonny Lubick, three years as the defensive coordinator at New Mexico State (2000-02), one season as the D-coordinator at South Dakota (1996) and five years as the defensive coordinator at Nebraska Wesleyan (1991-95) where he was also the head coach his final two seasons.
His defenses at Tulane led Conference USA in pass defense two of three seasons, and he coached seven All-Conference performers and two All-Freshman honorees.
Prior to Tulane, Stanard served as the defensive line coach at Ohio in 2008 for head coach Frank Solich. The Bobcats ranked in the top six of the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in: total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, pass defense and pass efficiency defense. He coached Second Team All-MAC defensive tackle Jameson Hartke, who also earned Academic All-MAC and Academic All-District honors.
Stanard is very familiar with the Mountain West Conference, having served as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Colorado State for five seasons from 2003-07. Stanard helped lead CSU to two bowl appearances, the 2003 San Francisco Bowl and 2005 Poinsettia Bowl. Four of Stanard’s CSU defenders earned First of Second Team All-Mountain West Conference honors, and another 24 earned Honorable Mention All-MW recognition. Linebacker Eric Pauly was an All-Mountain West selection at linebacker and was a three-time Academic All-American. His 2006 defense ranked in the MW’s top four in scoring defense, pass defense, pass defense efficiency, sacks, fewest opponent first downs allowed and opponent third-down conversions. CSU was the only team in the MW in 2006 that had three defenders ranked among the league’s top individual tacklers. Stanard’s 2004 and ‘05 defenses led the conference in pass defense.
Prior to Colorado State, Stanard coached at New Mexico State University for six seasons from 1997-2002 where he served as the defensive ends/outside linebackers coach the first three years and defensive coordinator the final three. Stanard coached linebackers Dwayne Taylor and Jimmy Cottrell at NMSU. Taylor was a three-time All-Conference selection, concluded his career with 364 tackles, 40 tackles for loss and four interceptions. Taylor went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes. Cottrell set a Western Athletic Conference single-season record in 2005 with 179 tackles. He went on to earn Honorable Mention All-America honors from SI.com and became the first player in New Mexico State history to lead his team in tackles all four seasons.
Stanard began his college coaching career in 1988 as a student assistant coach at his alma mater, the University of Nebraska, under head coach Tom Osborne. At Nebraska, Stanard saw the Huskers earn seven bowl bids during his time as a student-athlete or coach. After beginning his coaching career at his alma mater, Stanard coached at Nebraska Wesleyan University for five years, serving as the school’s defensive coordinator, head coach and an assistant athletic director during that five-year span.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Nebraska in 1989 and completed his master’s degree in business administration in 1995, also from Nebraska.
Stanard and his wife, Jennifer, have four children, Austin, Paige, Max and Madison.