Football Coaching Staff

David Elson begins his second season with the NM State football program as the team's defensive coordinator.

                In his first season as the defensive coordinator at NM State, Elson guided three players to all-WAC honors.  Jeremy Harris earned first team all-WAC honors while Trashaun Nixon and Davis Cazares were second team all-WAC for their play on defense.  Harris totaled 56 total tackles, one tackle for a loss, one interception, a forced fumble and a team-high 10 pass break-ups in 2012.  Cazares led the team in tackles with 116 total, and Nixon led the team with 9.5 tackles for a loss.  Cazares also led the WAC in tackles per game. As a unit, the defense had 48 tackles for a loss, sacked the opposing quarterback 11 times, intercepted four passes and forced nine fumbles.  The defensive unit also made its presence felt on special teams by blocking four kicks in 2012.

        Elson most recently was the defensive coordinator at Franklin-Simpson High School in Franklin, Ky., as he helped the Wildcats to the Class 4A state championship game in 2011, while his defense allowed 16.5 points per game.

        In 2010, Elson was the Defensive Quality Control Coordinator at Indiana University.

        Elson served as head coach at Western Kentucky for seven seasons, guiding the Hilltopper football team through the transition to the Football Bowl Subdivision.  WKU began the move in 2007, and became a full-fledged FBS member in 2009.

        Elson was named the school's head football coach, March 5, 2003, after serving as defensive coordinator for WKU's 2002 NCAA I-AA national championship team.  He replaced Jack Harbaugh, who retired after 14 years at the helm of the program.  He was the longest-tenured assistant on Harbaugh's staff, working seven years on the Hill with defensive backs, the last two as defensive coordinator.

        At the time of his hiring, Elson was the youngest head coach in Division I football. He won 39 games during his seven seasons at the helm, and was part of 100 total victories over 14 seasons on the Hilltopper staff.  Prior to making the move the FBS, WKU advanced to the NCAA 1-AA playoffs on six occasions - including a string of five straight appearances from 2000-04.

        While the Toppers became eligible for the Sun Belt Conference Championship and a bowl berth beginning in 2009, Elson experienced plenty of success in his 14 years at WKU.  The Hilltoppers finished with a winning record in 12 of those seasons, and claimed the 2002 NCAA Division I-AA National Championship while winning Ohio Valley and Gateway Football Conference titles in 2000 and 2002, respectively.  Elson was the defensive coordinator on the 2002 National Championship team.  WKU advanced to postseason play two more times after he was named head coach.

        Not only did the Hilltoppers reach the top spot in the national polls twice during the 2005 season, they posted top-15 finishes following both the 2003 and 2004 campaigns.  That included finishing seventh at the end of his initial season, after he matched the legendary E.A. Diddle for the most victories by a WKU first-year head coach after leading the Toppers to a 9-4 record while helping the Hilltoppers advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA playoffs.  The following year, Elson was a finalist for the 2005 Eddie Robinson national Coach of the Year Award after guiding WKU to a 9-3 finish, including a 6-1 mark in the Gateway Football Conference, despite losing 25 seniors from his first squad.

        Although he started as a defensive backs coach and served as defensive coordinator in 2001 and 2002 prior to his promotion, Elson has proven he can win relying on both sides of the ball while building a solid special teams unit.

        Prior to WKU, Elson served as a graduate assistant coach in 1994 and 1995 at Southern Illinois while earning a master's degree in education. He is a 1994 graduate of Butler, where he was a three-year letter winner and started at strong safety his final two seasons. The Bulldogs were conference champions in both his sophomore and junior years.

        A native of Indianapolis, Elson and his wife Kathy have three daughters, Lauren, Jessica and Maggie.


The Elson File


Full Name: David Elson

Birthdate:  August 26, 1971

Wife: Kathy

Children: Lauren, Jessica and Maggie


Butler, 1994

B.A. Education

Southern Illionis, 1995

Master in Education

Coaching Experience

Franklin-Simpson High School (2011)

Defensive Coordinator

Indiana (2010)

Defensive Quality Control

Western Kentucky (2003-09)

Head Coach

Western Kentucky (1996-02)

Defensive Coordinator

Defensive Backs

Southern Illinois (1994-95)

Graduate Assistant

Playing Experience

Butler (1991-94)


Bowl Experience

1997 - Division I-AA Playoffs (WKU)

2000 - Division I-AA Playoffs (WKU)

2001 - Division I-AA Playoffs (WKU)

2002—I-AA National Championship (WKU)

2003—Division I-AA Playoffs (WKU)

2004 - Division I-AA Playoffs (WKU)


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