DES MOINES, Iowa – Rick Fox has been named the head coach of the Drake University football team, director of athletics Sandy Hatfield Clubb and University President David Maxwell announced Wednesday, Dec. 11. Fox succeeds Chris Creighton who accepted the head coaching job at Eastern Michigan University on Wednesday following six seasons and two Pioneer Football League Championships at Drake.
“On behalf of Drake University, I am thrilled to welcome Rick Fox as our new head football coach,” Hatfield Clubb said. “He and Chris Creighton have worked together to build a culture of integrity and excellence in our football program and he is the perfect person to lead the Bulldogs into a new era at Drake University. Rick brings experience, knowledge and a deep sense of caring to his work. I am excited for the future of our program under his leadership.”
Fox, a veteran coach with 27 years of experience, was a member of Creighton’s staff for the past six seasons as the assistant head coach while also coaching the Bulldogs’ offensive line and special teams units. He has guided an offensive line that has generated 4,000 or more total yards in each of the last three seasons. In 2010 he was named the Football Championship Subdivision Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Football Coaches Association.
“It’s an incredible privilege to be the next head coach at Drake University,” Fox said. “The history of Drake, both academically and athletically, makes this a great honor. Additionally, having the opportunity to build on the foundation and tradition that’s been laid by the former players and coaches, especially Coach Creighton who I’ve been friends with for 20 years, is a special privilege. I’m extremely excited to work together with our team and build upon that foundation.”
As the Bulldogs’ special teams coordinator, Drake ranked fifth in the nation in FCS in 2010 in both punt and kickoff coverage, allowing opponents an average of just 3.4 and 16.1 yards per return, respectively. Drake's punt-return average of 13.5 led the PFL and ranked 15th nationally. This past season, Fox’s kickoff coverage unit led the PFL with a net average kickoff of 41.2 yards.
Fox joined Creighton’s first staff at Drake with an extensive coaching background after serving as offensive coordinator at Centre (Ky.) College from 1999-2007. He was promoted to associate head coach at Centre in 2006. During his eight seasons at Centre, Fox coached 16 first-team all-league performers and 50 total offensive all-conference players.
Fox was offensive line coach and special teams coordinator at Wheaton (Ill.) College from 1992-99 and offensive line coach at Aurora (Ill.) University from 1987-92. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wheaton College in 1986.
As an undergraduate, he was captain of the Wheaton football team in 1985 and graduated in 1986 with a bachelor of arts degree in history and secondary education. He also earned a master's degree in Biblical studies from Wheaton.
He was recipient of the Presidential Award for Distinguished Service to Centre College in 2005. Fox and his wife Julie have three children, Rebecca (18), Hannah (16) and Caleb (14).
Fox’s predecessor, Creighton, tendered his resignation as the head coach at Drake on Dec. 11 to accept the head coach position at Eastern Michigan University. In his six seasons at Drake, Creighton won two conference titles and amassed a 44-22 record.
“No words can describe my gratitude for Chris Creighton and the leadership that he brought to the Drake football program, the athletics department and to the University,” Hatfield Clubb said. “All those that he has touched are better people as a result, including me. I am excited for Chris and his family as they embark on a new journey at Eastern Michigan University and wish him the very best.”
Creighton’s 44 wins were the sixth most in program history and his .667 winning percentage was the highest in the Bulldogs’ 120-year history, and the back-to-back league titles were the first for the program in 81 seasons.
“These past six years at Drake and in Des Moines have been phenomenal,” Creighton said. “Our kids’ earliest memories will be from here and we have built friendships that will last a lifetime. I am so proud to have been able to lead the Drake Football program. Leaving Drake is incredibly difficult, but I cannot wait to see the great things that this program is going to do in the near future. My family and I want to thank everyone who has been so good to us throughout these years and we look forward to continuing those relationships.”