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Clemson Hires Rob Spence as Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach

Clemson Hires Rob Spence as Offensive Coordinator, Quarterback Coach

Jan. 13, 2005

Rob Spence, the offensive coordinator who led the University of Toledo to four consecutive top 13 final rankings in total offense and helped the Rocket program to 35 victories over the last four years, has been named Clemson Offensive Coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Head Coach Tommy Bowden made the announcement today.

“Working for a great University and a proven winner in Coach Tommy Bowden is a terrific opportunity, ” said Spence. “Clemson is one of the great football programs that has been filled with tradition for many years , and I am anxious to be a part of it. I am looking forward to building on that tradition.”

“I was looking for an experienced coach in terms of coaching quarterbacks and calling plays, and I have found that man in Rob Spence,” said Bowden. “I have known Rob for seven years through working the same camps and have always been impressed with him.

“Rob has been successful running and throwing the ball. This past year Toledo, Louisville, Southern Cal and Oklahoma were the only schools in the nation to rush for 2000 yards and throw for at least 3000. Twice in his four years at Toledo they ranked in the top 20 in the nation in rushing and twice they finished in the top 20 in passing. I am looking forward to improving our running game and our overall balance offensively under Rob’s guidance.

“He has not been a one-year wonder. All four of his offenses at Toledo ranked in the top 13 in the nation in total offense and in the top 25 in scoring offense. He has had a running attack that has ranked in the top 20 in the nation (twice in four years) and had the seventh best passing team in the nation this past year. And, he has accomplished those numbers with three different quarterbacks in his four years as coordinator at Toledo.

“Rob, his wife Susan and their two children will be an excellent addition to the Clemson family.”

Spence guided a Toledo offense that averaged 474.1 yards per game and 35.2 points per game during he 2004 regular season that included a 9-3 overall record and the Mid-American Conference Championship. It was the third time in four years that Toledo has played for the MAC championship.

The Rockets gained 2013 yards rushing and 3,676 yards passing this past regular season, joining Louisville (11-1), Southern Cal (12-0) and Oklahoma (12-0) as the only offenses in the nation to record at least 2000 yards rushing 3000 yards passing during the 2004 regular season. Toledo’s 3,676 yards passing were the most in the nation among schools who rushed for at least 2,000 yards during the regular season.

Toledo’s balance was also demonstrated in terms of its touchdown distribution. The Rockets had 25 rushing touchdowns and 28 passing touchdowns, joining Southern Cal, Utah and California as the only schools in the nation with at least 25 of each during the 2004 regular season.

As quarterbacks coach at Toledo, Spence groomed consistent and efficient signal callers. In each of his four years as coordinator, Toledo’s starting quarterback ranked in at least the top 16 in the nation in passing efficiency. That was quite an accomplishment considering these rankings were achieved by three different quarterbacks. Bruce Gradkowski, ranked in the top six in the nation in passing efficiency each of the last two years and was second in completion percentage each of the last two seasons. Tavares Bolden was 16th in the nation in efficiency in 2001 and Brian Jones ranked third in that category in 2002.

Over his four years at Toledo he has had a player rank in the top 10 in the nation in rushing, receiving and passing efficiency. In addition to the aforementioned success of his quarterbacks in terms of passing efficiency, wide receiver Lance Moore led the nation in receptions in 2003 and ranked 11th this past season. In 2001, Chester Taylor averaged 130 rushing yards per game, seventh best in the nation. He is now a running back in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens.

In 2003, the Rockets ranked 11th in the nation in total offense and sixth in passing efficiency and averaged 32.4 points per game, significant reasons for Toledo’s 8-4 record that included top 25 wins over Pittsburgh and Northern Illinois. Gradkowski was second in the nation in completion percentage (.712) and broke the MAC record for completion percentage in a game when he connected on 23-25 aerials against Buffalo. Moore broke the MAC record with 103 receptions for the season.

The 2002 season featured an offense that ranked fifth in the nation with an average of 472 yards per game and scored 35.4 points per contest. The Rockets ranked in the top 30 in the nation in rushing (16th, 214.3) and passing (29th, 258). The team finished with a 9-5 record and won the MAC West title and a visit to the Motor City Bowl. Quarterback Brian Jones passed for a Toledo record 3,446 yards and ranked first among Division I-A quarterbacks in completion percentage with a MAC record 70.2 percent mark.

The 2001 season, Spence’s first year with the program, saw Bolden set a then MAC record for completion percentage (68.7) and the team ranked in the top 16 in the nation in scoring (34.9), total offense (444.5) and rushing (213.4). Taylor gained 1,620 yards and scored 24 touchdowns, numbers that sent him to the NFL where he is still playing today.

Spence came to Toledo after a year as the co-offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech where he tutored then freshman Luke McCown, who threw for 2,533 yards and 21 touchdowns on the way to a Freshman All-American season. Tech ranked seventh in the nation in passing that year with an average of nearly 310 yards per game.

Spence was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Division I-AA Hofstra from 1997-99. In 1999, Hofstra averaged 34 points per game and finished the year with an 11-2 record and number-five national ranking. His 1998 offense averaged 38.7 points per game and ranked ninth in the nation in total offense with 464.9 yards per game. The 1997 Flying Dutchmen went 9-3 and ranked ninth in the nation in scoring (34.8) and eighth in total offense (453.9).

Spence was an assistant coach at the University of Maryland under Mark Duffner from 1992-96, a time period when Maryland set 70 school records on the offensive side of the ball. In 1994, with Spence serving as the quarterbacks coach, Maryland ranked 10th in the nation in passing.

In 1991, Spence coached the quarterbacks at Holy Cross under Duffner and helped the Massachusetts school to an 11-0 record and a number-three final national ranking. Holy Cross ranked fourth in the nation in total offense and ninth in passing at the I-AA level that year.

Spence worked as the offensive coordinator at Hofstra in 1990, helping that program to a 12-1 record and number-three national ranking. He was the offensive coordinator at Iona, his alma mater, in 1989 and that team posted an 8-2 record that season.

Spence began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Pelham Memorial High School in Pelhem, NY in 1981 before moving to Iona Prep in New Rochelle, NY in 1982. He was the varsity offensive coordinator in 1982 and the head JV coach for the 1983 season. He then became the head coach at Iona Prep in 1984, a position he served for five seasons until he started his college coaching career at Iona. His five year head coaching record was 29-19-1 at Iona Prep.

Spence, a native of Pelhem, NY, played high school football at St. Andrews High School in Middletown, DE from 1972-75. He went on to play tight end at Iona from 1978-81. He earned his bachelor’s degree in social work from Iona in 1981 and later earned his master’s degree in education from Iona in 1990.

An avid runner who ran in the Boston Marathon last April, the 46-year-old (October 10, 1958) Spence and his wife Susan have two children, Samantha (13) and Sydney Rae (11).

Rob Spence Offensive Performance Chart at University of Toledo

Year Total Off Rushing Passing Scoring Overall
2001 444.5 13 213.4 17 231.0 52 34.91 16 9-2
2002 472.2 5 214.3 16 257.9 29 35.36 11 9-5
2003 462.8 11 184.5 28 278.3 19 32.42 24 8-4
2004 474.1 7 167.8 45 306.3 7 35.20 13 9-4

Quick Facts on Rob Spence

Age: 46 (born 10-10-58) Hometown: Middletown, Delaware Alma Mater: Iona ’81 Playing Experience: Iona College 1978-81 Previous Coaching Experience: 1981: Assistant Coach, Pelhem Memorial High, Pelhem, NY 1982-83: Offensive Coordinator, Iona Prep, New Rochelle, NY Also Head JV Coach in 1983. 1984-88: Head Coach, Iona Prep, New Rochelle, NY (29-19-1) 1989: Offensive Coordinator, Iona College 1990: Offensive Coordinator, Quarterbacks, Hofstra University 1991: Quarterbacks coach, Holy Cross College 1992-93: Inside Receivers/Tight Ends, University of Maryland 1994-96: Quarterbacks, University of Maryland 1997-98: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks/Hofstra University 1999: Associate Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator, Hofstra University 2000: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, Louisiana Tech 2001-04: Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, University of Toledo