TROY, N.Y. — Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Director of Athletics Jim Knowlton has announced the hiring of Tim Landis as head football coach, bringing to the program significant coaching experience at the FCS and FBS levels. A former head coach at Davidson College, St. Mary’s College of California, and Bucknell University, all FCS institutions, Landis most recently served as the offensive coordinator at San Jose State University. He takes over the Engineers from Joe King, who retired after 22 years in late January.
“I would like to thank Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson and Jim Knowlton for providing this opportunity,” said Landis. “I am truly looking forward to being a part of the Rensselaer community and am excited to aid in the continued development of the Institute as envisioned by President Jackson.”
Landis added that “it is a great honor to be named the head football coach at Rensselaer and to have the opportunity to take over such a highly successful program that Coach King built over the past 22 years. Returning to an institution that has such outstanding academic and athletic success is a perfect combination for me and my family at this stage of my career.”
“I am confident that Tim Landis will continue the proud tradition of Rensselaer football and add to our prominence as a leading football program,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “His experience with the caliber of institutions in his background leads him to have a thorough understanding of the importance of the education that our young people are here to acquire, and the importance of developing the mind, body, and spirit. I also know he appreciates the winning tradition of Rensselaer athletics.”
“We are excited to add Tim to our RPI Athletics family,” said Knowlton. “He brings an incredibly diverse coaching resume and will help us continue to the raise the bar for our football program.”
While at San Jose State, where he also coached tight ends and assisted with special teams, Landis helped the Spartans play the toughest schedule in the nation at the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) level, competing against the likes of the University of Alabama, the University of Wisconsin and Boise State University, among their other Western Athletic Conference (WAC) opponents.
Landis joined the San Jose State staff after serving as a head coach at three Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools for the previous 17 seasons.
He guided Bucknell from 2003 to 2009, leading the Bison to a .500 or better record three times and compiling a 32-46 record. His teams were among the best FCS schools in rushing offense, finishing in the top 10 in 2003, 2004, and 2006. The 2003 (6-6) and 2004 (7-4) teams both finished in third place in the Patriot League.
Among the student-athletes Landis coached at Bucknell was former National All-America and National Football League (NFL) standout Sean Conover as well as National Academic All-Americas Justin Gibson and David Frisbey.
Landis enjoyed similar success at St. Mary’s, as his teams had better than .500 records in each of his three seasons (2000-02). The 2000 squad finished fourth in the FCS in rushing offense (309.5 yards per game) and the Gaels broke numerous school offensive records. With a 6-5 record in 2001 and 6-6 in 2002, Landis was named the Division I-AA Independent Coach of the Year.
He began his collegiate head coaching career at Davidson, starting in 1993 when he was one of the youngest Division I head coaches at age 29. He helped turn the Wildcats around, guiding the team to school single season records of eight wins in 1998 (8-2) and again in 1999 (8-3), his final year. Four of his teams finished with a better than .500 winning percentage as he compiled a record of 35-36-1. His overall collegiate head coaching record is 85-98-1.
In his final season at Davidson, the defense led the nation with a school-record 28 interceptions. Landis’ special teams unit blocked a FCS (then Division I-AA) record 13 kicks in 1999, and the defense allowed only 101 rushing yards per game to rank 13th in the nation.
In 1998, the Wildcats ranked first nationally in pass efficiency defense, second in scoring defense, fourth in total defense and 12th in rushing defense.
A native of Yardley, Pa., and a 1982 graduate of The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., Landis earned a bachelor of arts degree in English from Randolph-Macon College in 1986. An All-Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) First Team honoree both as a quarterback in football and a pitcher in baseball, Landis was inducted into the Randolph-Macon Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000. He was the ODAC Baseball Player of the Year in 1986, and he also earned the school’s Compton Award for excellence in academics and athletics. In May 2002, he was inducted into The Hun School’s Hall of Fame.
His first coaching position was a one-year stint at Randolph-Macon, mentoring the wide receivers in 1986.
In 1988, he began a three-year tenure as head football and baseball coach at Morrisville (Pa.) High School in the suburban Philadelphia area, where he led the football team to an 8-2 record and a state ranking while capturing numerous Coach of the Year honors. He also guided the baseball team to a conference championship. During his final two years at the school, he also served as athletics director.
Landis returned to the collegiate level in 1991, when he was hired as the defensive line coach at Davidson.
A member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), he is a former chair of the FCS All-America Selection Committee and a member of the I-AA Board of Directors Executive Committee.
Landis and his wife, Karen, have three sons, T.J. (18), Jack (7) and Charlie (4), and a daughter, Jordan (9).
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