Ian Shields
Ian Shields
Title: Head Coach
Alma Mater: B.A., M.A., Oregon State University

Ian Shields enters his third season at the helm of the Jacksonville University football team in 2018.

Tabbed as just the third head football coach in JU history in November of 2015, Shields looks to build on a framework for success that has been formed in his first two seasons leading the Dolphins.

Shields’ sophomore campaign in 2017 saw the team improve two wins from the previous season, to a 7-4 overall record, including a 5-3 mark and a third-place finish in the Pioneer Football League.

Steadied by a dynamic spread-option offensive attack, and an attacking turnover-reaping defense, the 17’ Dolphins put on quite a show on the field. The team ranked fifth in the Football Championship Subdivision, led the Pioneer Football League and shattered the school record in rushing offense, totaling 2,962 yards and averaging 269.3 yards-per-game. Additionally, the team set new marks in rushing attempts (601) and rushing touchdowns (31) in a single season.

Under Shields’ leadership, the Dolphins broke multiple single-game records during the season, highlighted by an unprecedented rushing performance against Guilford College on Sept. 30, 2017, which ended in 514 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.

2017 saw 13 players receive All-PFL accolades, with defensive back Griffin Garland, linebacker Trevor Tufano and running backs Irvin Riley and Keenan Simpson all earning Second-Team PFL honors. During the season, quarterback Rylan Wells (3x), linebacker Thomas Oporto and kicker Javier Arce-Ramirez were named PFL Players of the Week, while Wells (honorable mention) and Tufano took home STATS FCS National Player of the Week honors.

Off the field, five Dolphins took home PFL Academic All-Conference Awards, while a record 54 players earned a place on the league’s Fall 2017 Academic Honor Roll. The squad also recorded a 3.18 GPA for the year, the highest in program history.  Shields’ program continued its involvement in the community, serving over 350+ hours of service at local charities, schools, and civic organizations.

In his inaugural campaign in 2016, Shields set the foundation of the program and guided Jacksonville to success on the field, in the classroom, and in the community at-large. 

On the field, the Dolphins finished the season with an overall record of 5-5, which included a 4-3 mark in league play, and also saw the program’s second NFL free agent signee in as many years in linebacker Justin Horton (Jacksonville Jaguars).

The team set multiple program records with (then) single-season marks in rushing yards (2,482 yards) and rushing touchdowns (29), while tying the single-game rushing record (433). The Dolphins also finished the year ranked nationally in the FCS Top 25 in scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense, yards-per-completion, passing efficiency, time of possession, and punt return average.

Sixteen players earned All-PFL postseason honors and three were named conference Players of the Week.

Off the field, the Dolphins immersed themselves in the Jacksonville community, logging over 300 community service hours with the Boselli Foundation, Catholic Cathedral Care, and JU Charter Day participation.

Academically, in Shields’ first year at the helm, the team ended the spring semester with its highest recorded grade point average in program history (2.92).  Five Dolphins were recognized on the President’s List (4.0), 14 made the Dean’s List (3.5+) and 48 Dolphins were named on the 2016 PFL Academic Honor Roll.

Prior to his arrival at Jacksonville, Shields served as the head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, where he spent two seasons, compiling a 17-6 record. While at Lenoir-Rhyne, Shields won a conference championship, was named the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year, and twice had his offense lead the nation in rushing.

In the 2015 season, the Bears finished 6-5 (5-5 SAC), had six players named all-conference, and saw All-American offensive lineman Joe Ray named a finalist for the Gene Upshaw Trophy as the top lineman in Division II. Ray also won the Jacobs Trophy as the top lineman in the South Atlantic Conference.

In the last graded semester, the football team had 50 players achieve a grade point average above a 3.0, with 18 boasting a 3.5 or higher.

Shields’ first year at Lenoir-Rhyne featured an 11-1 record. Finishing 7-0 in conference play, the program put together its first perfect conference season in 52 years, while also setting an NCAA Division II single-season record for rushing yards (416.2 ypg) behind a spread-option attack.

Ranked as high as third in the country, the Bears earned the top seed in Super Region No. 2 for the second straight season, and garnered a No. 8 final national ranking in the AFCA NCAA Division II Coaches Poll.

Seven Bears earned some form of All-American honors after the 2014 season while Shields was named the SAC Coach of the Year. Shields coached two of Lenoir-Rhyne's most decorated players in school history, Ray and linebacker Tanner Botts, a pair of First-Team All-Americans.

Prior to Lenoir-Rhyne, Shields spent five seasons as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at Army (2009-13).

Under Shields, Army produced one of the most prolific attacks not only in West Point history, but in the nation. Army's offense topped the NCAA Division I rushing list in both 2011 and 2012, the first time the Black Knights led the country in that category in consecutive seasons since Col. Earl "Red' Blaik led the 1944 and 1945 squads.

The 2012 team set Academy records for both total rushing yards (4,438) and rushing yards per game (369.8 ypg). The 2011 squad was the first in Academy history to crack the 4,000-yard mark (4,158).

Under Shields, the 2012 team set an Army record with 5,235 yards of total offense which was the first 5,000-yard season in school history. The Black Knights' 436.2 yards-per-game average ranked fourth on the Army all-time ledger. The 2011 squad also recorded 254 first downs, a short-lived Army record as the 2012 Black Knights moved the chains 283 times.

With Shields' guidance offensively, Army never ranked lower than 16th in the nation in rushing, producing three top-five finishes in the statistical category.

Shields also coached current JU Quarterback/B-Back Coach Trent Steelman (2009-12), one of the most prolific players in school history. Steelman set Army records in rushing attempts (772), rushing yards (3,320) and 100-yard rushing games (12) by a quarterback. Steelman also broke the school record for career rushing touchdowns (45), and became the first Black Knight to both rush and pass for 2,000 yards in a career. He finished his career ranked among the top-ten in Army history in parring yards, pass completions, pass efficiency, total offense, all-purpose yards, points scored, touchdowns scored and touchdowns responsible for. Steelman was the first freshman to start 12 games in a season and the first rookie signal caller to register two 100-yard passing games.

Shields was also part of a staff that led Army to its first bowl victory in 25 years in 2010, a win over SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Prior to his time at Army, Shields spent the 2008 football season as the Associate Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator at Cal Poly, leading the most prolific offensive attack in all of FCS football.  The 2008 offense led the nation in scoring offense (44.36) and total offense (487.45), while registering the fewest turnovers. The Mustangs established school records for first downs (262), first downs rushing (162), points scored (488), and touchdowns (67). Shields’ offense scored at least 49 points in 6 of 11 contests, topping the 50-point barrier three times, including a season-high 68 points against Southern Utah. Overall, Cal Poly scored in 41 of 44 quarters of action over the course of the season.

Shields’ quarterback, Jonathan Dally, led the nation in passing efficiency (171.6) in 2008. He was also a first-team All-Conference selection after throwing for 23 touchdowns while only throwing five interceptions, he also rushed for 11 touchdowns leading the Mustangs to a Great West Conference championship. Shields also helped mold WR Ramses Barden, a third-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2009 National Football League Draft. Barden caught 67 passes for 1,257 yards and 18 touchdowns on his way to becoming the school’s career leader in all three categories (206 receptions, 4,203 yards, and 50 touchdown catches). Barden recorded at least one touchdown reception in his final 20 contests, surpassing Jerry Rice’s FCS mark and Larry Fitzgerald’s all-time NCAA record.

Shields’ ties to San Luis Obispo dated back to the 2004 & 2005 football seasons, when he served as the Mustangs’ co-offensive coordinator.

In-between his two stints at Cal Poly, he made his head coaching debut at the collegiate level, leading the football team at Eastern Oregon University during the 2006 & 2007 campaigns, the first two years that the program competed at the scholarship-level Frontier League of the NAIA. Shields led the Mountaineers to a 6-5 finish in 2006, ending the year on a three-game winning streak. Prior to the start of the season, the team had been picked to finish last in the Frontier League Coaches Poll.

During his first go-around at Cal Poly from 2004-05, Shields was instrumental in developing a dynamic spread-option offensive attack, which allowed the Mustangs to earn their first-ever FCS playoff berth and victory in 2005, a hard-earned road victory over perennial power Montana. Cal Poly posted a 9-4 record, making it to the quarterfinal round of the national playoffs. The Mustangs’ offense generated 30.2 points and 387.2 yards a contest in 2004, surging to a 9-2 record and the first of two Great West Football Conference championships.

A 1994 graduate of Oregon State University and former starting quarterback for the Beavers, Shields served as the Offensive Coordinator at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pa. for the 2003 season. The Bison recorded the biggest single-season turnaround in Patriot League history that season, leading the league in rushing, passing efficiency, turnover margin, fewest penalties against and fewest sacks against.

A native of Oregon City, Oregon, Shields began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, working with the Beavers’ linebackers, tight ends, quarterbacks and running backs, while also assisting with the special teams unit during his time with the team from 1994-96. He moved on to his first stop at Eastern Oregon thereafter, assuming offensive coordinator duties with the team from 1997-99. During those three years, he helped develop the Mountaineers’ all-time leading passer, rusher and receiver, and helped the offense establish 35 new school records.

Shields then moved on to Saint Mary’s College in 2000, heading the Gaels’ record-setting attack for the next three seasons. The team finished in the top five nationally in rushing offense in each of those campaigns. Additionally, Shields helped the Gaels shatter single-season school records in rushing yards, touchdowns and first downs during his first year, while also pushing the team to single-game records in points and rushing yards.

Shields lettered three times in football and twice in baseball at Oregon State, and was elected team captain of the gridiron during his senior year.

He graduated with a bachelor's degree in speech communication in 1994 and earned a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies from OSU in 1997, concentrating in education, communication and exercise sport science.

One of the most decorated prep athletes in the State of Oregon in his era, Shields was an All-State competitor in football, basketball and baseball while attending Oregon City High School. He was named The Oregonian State Player of the Year and the Bobby Dodd State Player of the Year his senior season.

Shields and his wife, Norma, a former collegiate volleyball standout at Eastern Oregon have three sons: Beau (15), Jonah (13), and Jordan (5).

Coaching Timeline: (2018 = 25th year overall coaching)

2016-present: Jacksonville (head coach)
2014-15: Lenoir-Rhyne (head coach)
2009-13: Army (offensive coordinator / associate head coach)
2008: Cal Poly (offensive coordinator)
2006-07: Eastern Oregon (head coach)
2004-05: Cal Poly (co-offensive coordinator)
2003: Bucknell (offensive coordinator)
2000-02: Saint Mary’s (offensive coordinator)
1997-99: Eastern Oregon (offensive coordinator)
1994-96: Oregon State (graduate assistant)

What They're Saying About Coach Shields:

“Ian Shields is a coach who gave me confidence on the football field. He understood the level of execution needed from players and consistently provided accurate and detailed coaching, he has a great feel of how to develop football players and get them to play to the best of their ability. Thanks to his coaching I was able to accomplish challenges that have helped me adjust to very different football environments in my football career. As a person , Coach Shields instilled me with values of professionalism and family- he’s a tremendous role model and mentor to every player in the locker-room.” - Former Army Ranger, Bronze Star Medal Recipient & Army West Point left tackle and current Pittsburgh Steeler, 2017 Pro Bowl selection Alejandro Villanueva

"I had the privilege of playing for Coach Shields and his staff my senior year. The 2016 season was one of the best in my four and a half years suiting up for JU, and a great deal of that had to do with Coach Shields. From the moment I met him his concern was establishing the best culture and environment that would help us build a winning football program and developing the players within it on and off the field. After my time at JU was complete, Coach Shields made it a point to help me in my transition to professional football- speaking to scouts, checking in on workouts, and giving advice. This year will be my second as a pro and I still receive calls and texts from Coach Shields asking how everything is going and checking in. It was a blessing to have him as a coach and now as a mentor." - Former JU, Jacksonville Jaguars & Saskatchewan Roughriders LB/DE Justin Horton

"Coach Shields gave me my first shot to play college ball, he was the one that believed in me and offered me actually. Coming out of high school (McClymonds HS, Oakland, CA) as an undersized inner city kid, he looked past the disadvantage and saw talent and potential in me as a player and as a student.  Not only did he advocate for me in the recruiting and admissions process, but he always made sure I was doing well on and off the field since the first day we met.  After we parted ways due to a coaching change, we still managed to keep in touch for an ongoing relationship outside of just football. I definitely appreciate Coach Shields for the opportunity, his friendship, and help getting me to the point where I’m at now in my career.” - Former Saint Mary's & Sacramento State and current Calgary Stampeders defensive back Brandon Smith

"Coach Shields is by far one of the best coaches and men I have ever worked with. He recruited me, took me to campus, and even helped me with my transition to school once I got there. He was always an open resource for me when I was there as well. I trusted him. He made me want to play my best because I didn’t want to let him down; I wanted to prove him right for taking a chance on me. To repay him for the faith and confidence he had in me from day 1 I stepped on campus at Cal Poly.  That’s something so important in this sport, and Coach Shields knows how to treat and mentor young men. He knows how to get the best out of you as a player. and that’s not even getting into his on the field knowledge. I’ve never seen anyone run the spread option offense like he did. His halftime adjustments were something to this day (after 6 years in the NFL) I still haven’t found any coach do it better. His knowledge of the game is A1, on both sides of the ball. And most of all he cares. He wants the best for you as a man, and also as a player. You don’t find that with a lot of coaches these days; at least in my experience. I wish I could have played for Coach Shields for longer!! Love you coach!!! I am where I am today because of you believing in me!! And I’ll never forget that!!" - Former Cal Poly & NFL cornerback and Super Bowl 47 Champion Asa Jackson

“Coach Shields was vital to our success at Cal Poly. His attention to detail, and enthusiasm for ’perfect practice’ elevated the understanding of our collective mission. It was he who became the technical engine for the potency of our #1 ranked offense. As a friend and mentor, Coach Shields is always one for endearing conversation and enthusiasm for personal development. To this day his is one of my favorite sports teachers, and our championship teams owe a great deal to his expertise and character." - Former Cal Poly & NFL wide receiver and Super Bowl 46 Champion Ramses Barden


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