|2002-04||Florida (Head Coach)|
|2000-01||New Orleans Saints (Defensive Coordinator)|
|1999||Kansas City Chiefs (Defensive Backs Coach)|
|1996-98||Pittsburgh Steelers (Special Teams Coach)|
|1995||Florida (Associate Head Coach/ Special Teams Coordinator/
Nickelbackers and Strong Safeties Coach)
|1994||Florida (Special Teams Coordinator/ Nickelbackers)|
|1991-93||Florida (Defensive Coordinator/ Defensive Backs)|
|1988-90||Ohio State (Defensive Backs)|
|1987||Virginia Tech (Defensive Coordinator/ Assistant Head Coach)|
|1984-86||Tennessee (Defensive Backs)|
|1983||Kansas (Defensive Coordinator)|
|1981-82||University of Cincinnati (Defensive Coordinator)|
|1978-80||Murray State (Defensive Backs)|
|1976-77||Orrville High School|
Ron Zook, a high-energy coach with 27 years of coaching experience at the collegiate and professional level, served three years as the Florida head coach from 2002-2004.
Posting an overall mark of 23-14 and 16-8 in Southeastern Conference action, Zook led UF to three consecutive bowl appearances and a share of the 2003 SEC East Division title. Zook's 12-3 record vs. the SEC Eastern Division during his three years tied for the best in the league during that time frame. He tallied six wins against ranked teams away from Gainesville, the top total in the nation in his three-year stretch, and he became only the third coach in the 70-year history of the Southeastern Conference to lead his teams to a January bowl game in his first two years. Zook's 23 wins at Florida was the second top total among active coaches nationally completing the third year at the helm of their program.
With a reputation as a player's coach with boundless energy and a relentless work ethic, Zook's players always matched his energy and never-give-up attitude. Zook's first team won four of its last five regular season games and his second team won five of its last six. The 2004 unit won three in a row to close the regular season. UF's eight regular season losses during his last two years were decided by a total of 45 points (5.6 per game) and five of the eight losses came to teams ranked in the top 15 nationally. Twelve of his final 24 games were decided in the final two minutes of action.
Zook's tireless efforts began on the recruiting front at Florida. In just three years, Zook signed 10 Parade All-Americans after Florida had inked 20 in the previous 12 years. He signed six in the 2003 class, just one shy of the school record set by the 1987 class. The 2003 class ranked among the top three nationally.
Zook's 2004 squad featured just eight returning starters, the fifth lowest total among the 117 Division I team and featured the youngest defense in the SEC with eight freshmen or sophomore starters. Despite having three games affected by Hurricanes and playing 11 consecutive weeks of football, the Gators secured their 17th consecutive season of winning football, the longest active streak in the SEC. Florida saved its best for last in 2004, defeating No. 8 Florida State, 20-13, to become the first UF team to win in Tallahassee since 1986. Florida finished the regular season leading the SEC in six team categories, including the top scoring offense, the top passing offense and the top team in total offense. Florida became only the second team in SEC history to have the top rusher in the league, the top passer, the leading receiver and the leading scorer.
Zook's 2003 squad captured a share of the Southeastern Conference East Division and defeated three ranked opponents in consecutive games for the first time in school history. Florida owned wins over two of the top 12 teams in the BCS Championship, defeated both teams that played for the SEC Championship and downed the eventual national champion for just the second time in school history. Florida's schedule, which ranked second-toughest in the nation, included a school-record tying seven ranked opponents. With a squad featuring 45 players seeing action in their first collegiate game and utilizing 14 true freshmen, Zook's team played in a January bowl game and finished the season ranked 24th in the final Associated Press Poll (25th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll).
Zook's first season in Gainesville produced wins over Tennessee, Auburn and Georgia and a perfect record in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division. Zook became the only first year coach in Gator history to defeat two top-five teams in his first season in Gainesville with a win over fourth-ranked Tennessee and fifth-ranked Georgia. Against a schedule that ranked sixth-toughest in the nation, the Gators ranked 24th in the final ESPN/USA Today Poll and extended their school record of consecutive January bowl appearances to 10. The 2002 Gator offense, which led the Southeastern Conference in total offense and passing, set school records for most offensive plays, passing attempts and completions. Florida's pass defense ranked seventh-best in the nation, while just two quarterbacks totaled more than 200 yards passing during the regular season.
He came to the Gators from a position as defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, where his units led the NFL in quarterback sacks over the 2000-2001 period with 119, and ranked third in the NFC in total defense in 2000. He coached for three NFL franchises (Pittsburgh, Kansas City and New Orleans), including division championship teams with the Steelers in 1996-1997 and the Saints in 2000.
On the collegiate level, Zook coached on five SEC championship teams (four at Florida and one at Tennessee), and at four schools that are members of college football's premier conferences (SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East). He has participated in 15 bowl games (two as a player, 13 as a coach).
He was no stranger to the Gators or the state of Florida, having spent five years (1991-95) as an assistant coach at UF during one of the most successful five-year periods in school history.
Over this period the Gators recorded an overall record of 52-11-1, including a 38-5 SEC record, while winning four SEC championships (1991, '93,'94, '95). They played in five bowl games, including three Sugar Bowls and one Fiesta Bowl, ranked in the nation's top 10 in final polls each year and played in the 1996 National Championship game in the Fiesta Bowl.
Zook served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach from 1991-93, special teams coordinator and nickelbacks coach in 1994. In 1995 he was associate head coach, special teams coordinator and coached the nickelbacks and strong safeties.
As the defensive coordinator from 1991-93, Florida was the only school to rank among the SEC's top four teams in rush defense all three seasons (first in\ 1991, fourth in 1992 and second in 1993), and ranked among the nation's top 10 teams in rush defense in 1991 and 1993. As special teams coordinator from 1994-95, the Gators blocked 12 total kicks and the 1994 unit blocked a school-record five punts.
Zook's college coaching career started in 1978 at Murray State under head coach Mike Gottfried, who is now an ESPN college football analyst. Gottfried has followed his career for over two decades.
"I've known Ron for over 20 years and I've closely watched him since the very beginning of his college coaching career, when he was with me at Murray State," said Gottfried. "He has a strong desire and will to win, and to do things the right way. He is very passionate about coaching and helping young people. He has built outstanding relationships with players wherever he has coached. I feel he is unquestionably one of the very best recruiters in all of college football.
"Ron would rank among the top three coaches of all the assistant coaches I had the privilege of having on my staffs over the years because he is so well rounded and brings so much to the table in terms of what it takes to be a successful coach," said Gottfried. "I believe he ranks with people like Frank Beamer, Bob Stoops, Larry Coker and Ralph Friedgen as long-time assistants who deserved a chance to be a head coach, and I think Ron will be just as successful as those coaches have proven to be."
Zook is a graduate of Miami of Ohio (1976 B.S. in Comprehensive Science). He played as a defensive back there from 1972-75 and was captain of the 1975 team. Miami posted a 32-1-1 record during that period and beat the Gators in the 1973 Tangerine Bowl. They won the Mid-American Conference each year.
He is married to the former Denise Baugh, and they have two daughters, Jacquelyn and Casey. He was born on April 28, 1954 in Loudonville, Ohio.
CAREER COACHING NOTES
NFL COACHING CAREER (1996-2001)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-98)
Kansas City Chiefs (1999)
New Orleans Saints (2000-01)
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER (1978-95, 2002-04)
|Bowl Games as a Coach/Player|