NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) –  Tulane University football head coach Willie Fritz announced today the addition of Jim Svoboda, as the Green Wave’s new offensive coordinator. Svoboda arrives at Tulane after he spent 11 years at Central Missouri, serving as the Mules’ head football coach. 

During his time in Warrensburg, Missouri, the Mules broke 108 school offensive records and 21 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) offensive records. He coached 28 All-Americans, including seven on the First Team, and 158 All-MIAA student-athletes, including 36 first team selections. In the classroom, seven Central Missouri players earned CoSIDA Academic All-American accolades and 305 student-athletes have been named to the conference’s Academic Honor Roll.

“We are very excited to bring Jim Svoboda and his wife Susan to Tulane University,” head coach Willie Fritz said. “Coach Svoboda has directed some of the nation’s top offenses at various levels throughout his career. He is a proven winner no matter where he goes and I know he is going to be a great fit for our program moving forward.” 

As a head coach at Central Missouri, Svoboda directed the Mules to seven seasons with at least eight wins, six post season appearances, five post season wins, and three NCAA playoff appearances. He also coached 14 Mules that went on to sign NFL contracts. 

“First, I’m honored to have the opportunity to work at an iconic University with the world-wide recognition of Tulane University,” Svoboda said. “Secondly, it’s a privilege to be part of the tremendous staff Coach Fritz has assembled and to coach the talented players he has attracted to Tulane. I absolutely cannot wait to begin formulating a plan to put these players in the best position to be successful. Fans will see an exciting, productive style of offense that ultimately helps Tulane win a lot of games.” 

From 1987-1993, Svoboda served as the head coach at Nebraska Wesleyan. During that time, he led NWU to a 52-19 overall record, three conference titles, and three national playoff appearances. Svoboda was the first coach in school and conference history to win an NAIA playoff game. NWU was ranked in 52 of a possible 55 weeks during his seven-year tenure, and he was named NIAC Coach of the Year three times. Nebraska Wesleyan has made five total playoff appearances in school history, three of them under Svoboda. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in the summer of 2013.

Svoboda has experienced success at every level, winning national championships at the Division II and NAIA level as an assistant coach, as well as three bowl game appearances at the FBS Division I level. He boasts a combined 284-118 record as both a head and assistant coach.

During the 2021 campaign, Central Missouri led the MIAA and ranked sixth in NCAA Division II in passing offense, tallying 3,668 total yards and 333.5 yards per game through the air. UCM quarterback Logan Twehous led the conference in passing, throwing for 3,013 yards and 301.3 yards per game with 28 touchdowns, while receiver Cam Saunders led the MIAA and was second in NCAA-II in receiving yards with 1,438 yards. He added 10 TDs, and 130.7 yards per game.

In 2019, Svoboda moved to second all-time at Central Missouri in coaching victories, surpassing 80 with his 11-2 mark. In his first decade, he has led UCM to an 81-36 overall mark, including 72-31 in MIAA play. He has led the Mules to six postseason appearances and two 11-win seasons, the most wins UCM has had in a single-season. With a .692 winning percentage, Svoboda also has the second highest winning percentage of any Mules coach with at least four years at the helm and the highest with at least 30 games coached.

The 2019 season was one of the best in Mules Football history. UCM went 11-2, matching their highest single-season win total and claimed their first MIAA Championship since 2003. The Mules made their sixth trip to the postseason under Svoboda, going 1-1 in the NCAA postseason that included a 37-27 win at home over Indianapolis in just their second ever home playoff game. The Mules led the country in total offense averaging 547.5 yards per game and were fifth in D2 scoring 44.8 points per game. Four Mules were named All-American, quarterback Brook Bolles, tight end Zach Davidson, center Jake Heckler and wide receiver Shae Wyatt. Five different publications named Davidson a First Team All-American while Bolles was a finalist for the Harlon Hill trophy for the second time in his career. UCM’s offense broke 17 records during the season including most points per game (44.8), total offense (7,117 yards) and single-game touchdown passes (7). 

Following the 2019 campaign, Svoboda was named MIAA Coach of the Year and AFCA Regional Coach of the Year. 

In the 11 years since Svoboda entered the MIAA, the Mules are the No. 1 team in total offense with 470.4 yards per game, and No. 2 in scoring offense with 37.1 points per game. UCM’s six postseason appearances are also the second most in the league, and the 81 wins is the third most in the MIAA. 

Prior to his arrival at Central Missouri, Svoboda spent three years as the assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Division I-FCS member Montana State, and helped the Bobcats to winning seasons each year there, as well as a top 25 final national ranking in 2009.

Svoboda’s first year at UCM in 2010 proved to be the best of any coach in school history, helping the Mules to a school record 11-3 mark, and an 8-1 mark in the MIAA to finish second. He also led UCM to its second ever NCAA Playoff appearance, as well as the first home playoff game and first playoff win in school history as the Mules advanced to the NCAA-II National Quarterfinals. The offense was equally as good, breaking every school passing record, and boasting four first-team All-MIAA and All-American players, including the MIAA Player of the Year, South Central Region Player of the Year and Harlon Hill Award winner, quarterback Eric Czerniewski, he only Harlon Hill winner in school history. The 2010 Mules also became the first team in NCAA-II history to have a 5,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

Svoboda served as UCLA’s quarterbacks coach from 2004-06, helping lead the Bruins to three bowl games and only their seventh 10-win season ever in that span. He served as the program’s offensive coordinator in 2006. UCLA won the 2005 Sun Bowl and upset second-ranked cross-town rival USC in 2006. For his efforts, he was a finalist for the 2005 Broyles Award, presented to the nation’s top assistant coach at the Division I-FBS level. He coached UCLA quarterback Drew Olson for two seasons, helping him set numerous school passing records, ranking second in the nation in touchdown passes, fifth in pass efficiency, and eighth in the 2005 Heisman voting.

Prior to his time at UCLA, he was at MIAA rival Northwest Missouri State for 10 seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (1994-2003). He helped the Bearcats to back-to-back Division II National Championships in 1998 and 1999 while winning five consecutive MIAA titles and winning 41 MIAA games in a row. In a six-year span there, his prolific offenses averaged more than 450 yards and 40 points a game, leading the nation in scoring in both 1998 and 2000. His teams broke more than 70 team, MIAA, and NCAA offensive records, as well as a national mark of 15 wins in one season. He also earned American Football Coaches Magazine Offensive Coordinator of the Year honors in 1998.


A 1983 graduate of Northwestern College in Iowa, Svoboda began his coaching career at his alma mater that fall, winning a national championship at 14-0 as the running backs coach. He then moved to Dana College in Nebraska as offensive line and strength coach in 1984. He earned his master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico in 1986, serving as the running backs coach there in 1985 and helping them to a runner-up finish in the Lone Star Conference.

What they are saying about Jim Svoboda…

“Jim Svoboda is one of the best coaches I have ever been around. He is masterful in creating situations for offenses to be successful. He is one of the biggest reasons I had the opportunity to play 14 years of professional football. The way he designs plays, the way he thinks, his mentality of attacking teams is just tremendous. I’m so excited for him to be at the Division I level again.” 

-Chris Greisen, Two-time All-American at Northwest Missouri State and 1999 NFL Draft pick by the Arizona Cardinals

“I instilled my trust in him and the plans he had for me and from there our relationship was built. He put me in an offense that really utilized the tight end and he helped me get to where I am now just giving me the opportunity to play. Just to see what he has done with several players has been amazing.”

-Zach Davidson, 2020 NFL Draft pick by the Minnesota Vikings

THE JIM SVOBODA FILE

Personal
Hometown: Denison, Iowa

Family: Susan (Wife)

Playing Experience

Northwestern College (1978-82)

Alma Mater

Bachelor’s Degree: Northwestern College, 1983

Master’s Degree: Eastern New Mexico, 1986

Coaching Experience
1983: Northwestern College (running backs coach)
1984: Dana College (offensive live and strength coach)
1985-86: Eastern New Mexico (running backs coach)

1987-93: Nebraska Wesleyan (head coach)
1994-2003: Northwest Missouri State (quarterbacks coach/offensive coordinator)
2004-06: UCLA (quarterbacks coach)
2007-09: Montana State (assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach)
2010-21: Central Missouri (head coach)

{Press release courtesy of Tulane Athletics}