ATHENS, Ohio -- Jimmy Burrow has announced his retirement from the Ohio Football program after 14 years as the defensive coordinator of the Bobcats. Ron Collins, who has spent the past eight years as the program's linebackers coach, has been elevated to defensive coordinator, as announced by head coach Frank Solich.
"After much discussion with my family, I've decided to retire from coaching," said Burrow. "It was a difficult decision, but it gives me the opportunity to spend more time with family. I'd like to thank Coach Solich for giving me the opportunity to coach here at Ohio University. It has been an incredible experience to be a part of Ohio Football and this great university. I'd like to thank the players, past and present, for being a special part of my life. Go Bobcats!"
Serving as defensive coordinator since Solich's arrival in Athens in 2005, Burrow has helped the Ohio program blossom into one of the Mid-American Conference's elite. With Burrow on staff, the Bobcats have tallied 106 victories, captured four MAC East Division titles, made 10 bowl appearances and earned the program's first four bowl victories. In addition to his defensive coordinator/safeties coach duties, Burrow has served as Ohio's associate head coach since 2017.
"Jimmy and I have been associated with one another as coaches and friends over a long period of time, including 14 seasons here at Ohio," said Solich. "A strong bond exists between us, and he has been a huge part of helping us build this program and move Ohio Football forward."
During Burrow's tenure at Ohio, the Bobcats tallied 41 All-MAC selections on the defensive side of the ball. He coached a pair of All-Americans in cornerback Dion Byrum (2005) and Noah Keller (2009). Six of his players have been selected in the NFL Draft, including defensive tackle Landon Cohen (2008, seventh round, Detroit Lions), defensive back Mike Mitchell (2009, second round, Oakland Raiders), cornerback Travis Carrie (2014, seventh round, Oakland Raiders), defensive end Tarrell Basham (2017, third round, Indianapolis Colts), linebacker Blair Brown (2017, fifth round, Jacksonville Jaguars) and linebacker Quentin Poling (2018, seventh round, Miami Dolphins).
The Ohio defense has consistently ranked among the best in the MAC in scoring defense and turnovers and led the nation in turnovers in both 2009 and '18. In Burrow's final game as the Ohio defensive coordinator, the Bobcats shut out San Diego State in the 2018 DXL Frisco Bowl, 27-0, which marked the first time a MAC team has posted a shutout in a bowl game.
Prior to his arrival in Athens, Burrow served as tight ends coach (1981) and defensive backs coach (1982-86) at Washington State, secondary coach (1987-94) and co-defensive coordinator (1994) at Iowa State, graduate assistant (2000-02) at Nebraska and defensive coordinator/secondary coach (2002-04) at North Dakota State.
Burrow moved to the sideline after a successful playing career both at the collegiate and professional levels. He was a second-team All-Big Eight defensive back at Nebraska, prompting the Green Bay Packers to choose him in the eighth round of the 1976 draft. Burrow, an Academic All-Big Eight selection, helped the Cornhuskers to the 1975 league title.
Burrow went on to play five years in the Canadian Football League. He was a member of the Montreal Alouettes from 1977-79, helping the squad to three Grey Cup finals, including the 1977 title. He was a CFL Eastern Conference All-Star in 1978 and 1979. Burrow finished the 1980 season with the Calgary Stampeders, and played the 1981 season with the Ottawa Rough Riders. A native of Amory, Miss., Burrow graduated with a bachelor's of science in education from Nebraska in 1976, and he earned a master's in education from Washington State in 1981.
Burrow and his wife, Robin, have three sons, Jamie and Dan, who both played football at Nebraska, and Joe, who is currently the starting quarterback at LSU.
The Bobcats have boasted one of the top linebacking units in the MAC since Collins' arrival in 2011. Ohio linebackers have accounted for nine All-MAC honors during his tenure, including Noah Keller (2011, Second Team), Alphonso Lewis (2012, Third Team), Jovon Johnson (2014, Third Team), Poling (2015, Third Team; 2016 & '17, First Team), Brown (2016, First Team), Chad Moore (2017, Second Team) and Evan Croutch (2018, Second Team).
"I'm very humbled and excited about having the opportunity to lead the defense," said Collins. "I'm very appreciative of the opportunity Coach Solich has given me and the trust that he has in me to lead the defense. I'd like to thank Jimmy Burrow for all he has done for me, personally, and for this program. It has been awesome to work with him."
Under the tutelage of Collins, the Ohio linebackers have helped the Ohio defense rank among the best in the conference at stopping the run. He has previous defensive coordinator experience, having served in the role at Washington University in St. Louis (1988-2000), Boise State (2001-05) and Colorado (2006-10). He has served as Ohio's co-defensive coordinator since 2017.
"Ron has a great deal of experience and will do an excellent job for our program as the defensive coordinator," said Solich. "He has established a great working relationship with our players and the other coaches on our staff."
Collins is a 1987 graduate of Washington State, earning a bachelor's degree in physical education. The defensive team captain as a senior, he lettered four years for WSU at strong safety for coach Jim Walden. He started three seasons (1984-86) and once had three interceptions in a game (versus Stanford as a sophomore in 1984). He received a master's degree in education administration from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1991.
A Cashmere, Wash., native, Collins graduated from Cashmere (Wash.) High School, where he earned a total of 10 letters in football, wrestling and track. He is married to the former Sharon Arthalony, and the couple have two daughters, Taylor Rae and Alexandra.