Cincinnati native Mark Elder enters his third season at Cincinnati and moves back to the defensive side of the ball, coaching the safeties and serving as the special teams coordinator.
Elder coached the tight ends in 2010 and the running backs in 2011.
Offensively in 2011, UC averaged 385 yards per game, ranking No. 2 in the BIG EAST in rushing offense (178.5 ypg) and scored an average of 33.3 points per game on the way to a BIG EAST Conference Championship and a win in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl over SEC foe Vanderbilt.
RB Isaiah Pead, the 2011 BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Year and a First-Team All-BIG EAST selection, closed out his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, the first UC back to accomplish that feat in nearly 25 years. His 3,288 career yards rushing and 27 rushing touchdowns rank him third all-time.
Elder coached Second-Team all-BIG EAST Conference tight end Ben Guidugli in 2010, helping the senior total 24 catches and a pair of touchdowns.
In 2010, the Bearcats led the BIG EAST in scoring offense (27.1 ppg), total offense (417.3 ypg), passing offense (260.7 ypg), first downs (21.9 pg), third-down conversions (45.6 pct.), and touchdown passes (27).
Prior to joining the UC staff in Jan. 2010, Elder spent the previous three seasons coaching linebackers at Central Michigan.
Elder, a graduate of Sycamore High School, had at least one of his CMU linebackers earn all-conference accolades in each of his three years in Mount Pleasant. Nick Bellore was an all-conference first team pick in 2008 and 2009, following in the footsteps of former CMU standouts Red Keith and Ike Brown in 2007.
Bellore averaged nearly 10 tackles a game in 2009 (9.4) and ranked fifth in the MAC and 24th nationally. His 148 tackles in 2008, matched Keith's 2007 total and tying for the third-most in a single season in school history. Bellore's average of 11.3 tackles per game led the MAC and ranked fourth nationally in 2008.
Keith and Brown led CMU in tackles with 148 and 106, respectively, in 2007. Keith's 474 career stops rank second in school history and seventh in NCAA Bowl Subdivision history. His 10.6 tackles per game in 2007 ranked 19th nationally.
Bellore, who started all 14 games at middle linebacker as a true freshman in 2007, made a CMU freshman-record 102 tackles and earned Freshman All-America honors.
Elder arrived at CMU by way of Michigan, where he spent the 2005 and 2006 seasons. As a defensive graduate assistant in 2006, Elder worked closely with the UM linebackers, including All-Big Ten selections David Harris and Shawn Crable. The 2006 Michigan defense led the nation in rushing yards allowed (43.4 ypg) and ranked 10th in total defense (268.3 ypg allowed).
Elder has previously served as the defensive coordinator at Wayne State (2004) and Iona (2003), also serving as the linebackers coach at both institutions. He worked with a pair of All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference linebackers at Iona and directed a defense that ranked first in the MAAC in total defense and second in scoring and rushing defense.
Elder began his coaching career as a graduate assistant coaching defensive backs at Akron (2000-01) before spending the 2002 season as an assistant linebackers coach at Lehigh. He was part of a co-MAC East Division championship at Akron in 2000 and assisted in coaching first team All-American Dwight Smith.
A 2000 graduate of Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, Elder graduated cum laude with a bachelor of arts in economics while earning four varsity letters in football. He was a three-time all-conference selection as a defensive back. Elder also earned a master's degree in education from Akron.