CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) - University of Illinois head coach Tim Beckman announced the hiring of Jim Bridge as offensive line coach on Wednesday. Bridge comes to Illinois after spending the last six years at North Carolina State, where he served as both offensive line coach (2011-12) and tight ends coach (2007-10).
"I'm very excited to work with an outstanding coach and man in Tim Beckman," Bridge said. "Illinois is a great fit for me, personally, and Coach Beckman has assembled an outstanding staff. As a coach, you always look forward to competing in a premier conference like the Big Ten and at one of the nation's great academic institutions such as the University Illinois. I can't wait to get started with the members of our team and especially our offensive linemen."
Bridge took over the reigns of the offensive line at N.C. State following the 2010 season after leading the Wolfpack tight ends for the previous four seasons. The 2012 Wolfpack offense averaged more than 420 yards per game and ranked 18th nationally in passing yards per game (310.1 ypg). At N.C. State, he coached four All-ACC players from 2009-12, including guard R.J. Mattes (2012), center Camden Wentz (2012) and tight end George Bryan (2009, '10). Bryan was the Pack's second-leading receiver with 40 catches and six scores in 2009, while leading all league tight ends in receptions. Bridge's 2008 tight ends combined for 40 catches, 456 yards and eight of the Wolfpack's 20 passing touchdowns. In 2008, Bridge was named one of the top recruiters in the nation by Rivals.com.
Prior to his six-year stint at N.C. State, Bridge helped coach the Boston College offense that led the ACC in total offense in 2005 and ranked second in the league in 2006. The 2006 Eagles, with Bridge as the tight ends coach, also led the league in first downs and passing offense.
Bridge has previously served as offensive line coach at Eastern Michigan (2002) and The Citadel (1996-99), and spent one year at Bowling Green as the tight ends coach (2000) while Beckman was there as the defensive coordinator. In his 21 years of collegiate coaching experience, Bridge has coached in 12 bowl games and has tutored four players that went on to play professionally.
"I was extremely pleased to find a coach of Jim's caliber to join our staff during this search for an offensive line coach," Beckman said. "I worked with Jim at Bowling Green and have followed his career as he progressed through Ohio State, Eastern Michigan, Boston College and North Carolina State. He has coached at several very productive and successful programs. Jim will be a great fit at Illinois as an on-field coach and as one of the nation's top recruiters."
Bridge played tight end for Wittenberg University from 1988-92, and earned his B.A. from Wittenberg in 1992. He received his master's degree in sports administration from Bowling Green State in 1994.
Bridge is married to the former Andrea Bitterman of Buffalo, N.Y. The couple has four children: Anna Claire, Ryan, Maggie and Jack.
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