Shawn Elliott, formerly the co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach at South Carolina and a coaching veteran who brought 20 years of experience in winning programs, was introduced as Georgia State’s third head football coach by President Mark Becker and Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb on Dec. 9, 2016.
In 22 seasons as a Division I coach, including highly successful stints at South Carolina and Appalachian State, Elliott has been part of 20 winning seasons, 17 teams that reached the NCAA playoffs or a bowl game, and three consecutive NCAA FCS titles from 2005-07.
That winning pedigree was evident in his first season at Georgia State in 2017.
Among the accomplishments and highlights of Elliott’s first two seasons in Atlanta are the first bowl victory in school history, Georgia State’s first winning season as an FBS program and a school-record seven-win campaign. Individual honors include 16 All-Sun Belt Conference honorees, Georgia State’s first two players selected to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, five former players signed to NFL free agent contracts and a first-round selection in the CFL draft
The accolades extend to the classroom with GSU’s first Academic All-American® as well as four Academic All-District® selections in two seasons, and the Panthers posted a program-record 3.03 GPA in his Elliott’s first semester.
MAKING A SPLASH IN FIRST SEASON AT GEORGIA STATE
Despite taking over a Georgia State program playing just its eighth season of football in 2017, Elliott not only guided GSU to a bowl game in his first year at the helm, but he led the Panthers to their first bowl victory, 27-17 over Western Kentucky in the AutoNation Cure Bowl. That win gave the program a school-record seven victories in Elliott’s first season.
Under Elliott’s watch, the Panthers achieved benchmark performances on both sides of the ball. The 2017 GSU defense set season records for fewest points per game allowed (24.75), and fewest rushing yards allowed per game (136.4) and per attempt (4.13). The defense also recorded the first shutout in school history while setting single-game records for fewest rushing yards allowed (minus-2) and most sacks.
On offense, the Panthers established new marks for highest completion percentage (64.2) and fewest interceptions (9) in a season, as well as most total yards in a game (670) and most points vs. an FBS opponent (47).
Georgia State’s individual efforts were also recognized as nine Panthers earned All-Sun Belt Conference honors, led by first-team selection Penny Hart. Senior cornerback Chandon Sullivan shined in the classroom and on the field as Georgia State’s first football Academic All-American and the first Panther to be invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Sullivan, one of three 2017 seniors to sign NFL free agent contracts, is now with the Green Bay Packers.
After inheriting a senior-dominated roster for his first season, Elliott’s second campaign proved to be a rebuilding year as the Panthers were forced to play numerous freshmen.
Still, there were many positives during the 2018 season. Quarterback Dan Ellington, recruited by Elliott and his staff from the junior college ranks, passed for more than 2,000 yards, led the team in rushing and set a school record for fewest interceptions in his first season. The team total of six interceptions surpassed the record set in 2017.
Punter Brandon Wright ranked No. 3 in FBS in both punting average and net while setting the Sun Belt record at 48.3 yards per kick. The Ray Guy Award semifinalist is GSU’s first semifinalist for a major college football award.
Hart, the standout receiver, finished his career ranked fourth in Sun Belt history in receiving yards and seventh in receptions. Following the season, he was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl, and he signed a free agent contract with the Indianapolis Colts, as did linebacker Chase Middleton with the Houston Texans.
Wright, Hart and Ellington were among the seven Panthers recognized on the All-Sun Belt team, giving GSU 16 all-conference selections in Elliott’s first two seasons.
SUCCESSFUL TENURES AT SOUTH CAROLINA & APP STATE
Before taking over the Georgia State program, Elliott worked seven seasons (2010-16) at South Carolina under Will Muschamp and Steve Spurrier, highlighted by three consecutive 11-win seasons from 2011-13 during the most successful run in the Gamecocks’ history. In addition to coaching the offensive line, he was the running game coordinator in 2010 and 2011, was elevated to co-offensive coordinator in 2012, and then served as the interim head coach following Spurrier’s retirement midway through the 2015 season.
Elliott originally joined the South Carolina staff in 2010 and helped the Gamecocks reach five straight bowl games while coaching some of the most prolific and balanced offenses in school history. The Gamecocks turned in the program’s best offensive season, statistically, in 2013, averaging 34.1 points while rolling up a school-record 452.3 yards per game, including 198.5 yards on the ground and 253.8 through the air.
South Carolina’s 2014 unit scored nearly 33 points per game while averaging over 440 yards of offense as All-America and All-Southeastern Conference offensive guard A.J. Cann paved the way. In 2010, Elliott’s first season in Columbia, his offensive line blocked for record-setting running back Marcus Lattimore, the National Freshman of the Year.
In addition to Cann, a third-round draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2015, Elliott developed future NFL linemen Corey Robinson, Ronald Patrick, Brandon Shell, T.J. Johnson and Rokevious Watkins.
Before going to South Carolina in 2010, Elliott coached his entire career at Appalachian State, his alma mater. In 13 seasons there, he was an integral part of App State’s three consecutive NCAA titles from 2005-07 as well as the Mountaineers’ historic upset at Michigan in 2007.
Beginning in 1997, he worked two seasons as a defensive assistant (1997-98) and then two seasons as the tight ends coach (1999-00) before taking over the offensive line in 2001.
In nine seasons as the Mountaineers’ offensive line coach, Elliott’s players earned All-America distinction on 12 occasions, including four different linemen who received first-team All-America accolades. He also coached All-American and future NFL tight end Daniel Wilcox in 2000. In 2003, offensive lineman Wayne Smith was the first pick in the Canadian Football League Draft. From 2005-07, Elliott coached three-consecutive Southern Conference Jacobs Blocking Trophy recipients.
Elliott helped lead the Mountaineers to 10 NCAA playoff berths in 13 seasons with two trips to the national semifinals and three appearances in the quarterfinals in addition to the three championships.
Elliott was one of three App State coaches to earn the NCAA’s Award of Valor for their efforts in rescuing two individuals from a automobile accident in 2000.
As a player, Elliott was the first player in Mountaineer annals to appear in the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs four separate seasons. He was a four-year letterwinner, helping the Mountaineers to two Southern Conference titles and a combined record of 36-16. He served as a co-captain of the 1995 Appalachian State squad that finished 12-1 while earning all-league distinction as a defensive end.
A native of Camden, S.C., Elliott earned his bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State in 1996. He is married to the former Summer Scruggs, also an App State grad and a standout tennis player for the Mountaineers, and the couple has two children, Maddyn and Max.
|SHAWN ELLIOTT'S COACHING CAREER|
|1997-09||Appalachian State||Assistant Coach|
|2010-16||South Carolina||Assistant Coach|
|2015||South Carolina||Interim Head Coach|
|2017-Present||Georgia State||Head Coach|
|HEAD COACHING RECORD|
|2015||South Carolina (interim)||1-5|