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, Shawn Elliott was introduced as Georgia State’s third head football coach by President Mark Becker and Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb on Dec. 9, 2016.
And one year later, Elliott had not only guided Georgia State to its second bowl game with a trip to the 2017 AutoNation Cure Bowl, but he led the Panthers to their first bowl victory, 27-17 over Western Kentucky. 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.
Elliott took over a Georgia State program entering its eighth season of football but positioned for growth with the move into Georgia State Stadium, coupled with the university’s continued rise in size and stature.
Before he even coached his first game at Georgia State, Elliott’s impact on the program was immediately felt. On the recruiting trail, he and his staff quickly assembled an impressive 2017 recruiting class that was the most highly-regarded group of GSU signees to date. And in the classroom, his Panthers achieved an all-time high with a 3.03 grade-point average for the spring semester.
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.
Before going to South Carolina in 2010, Elliott served 13 seasons as an assistant coach at Appalachian State. 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.
In 21 seasons as a Division I coach, Elliott has been a part of 20 winning seasons and helped coach 17 teams to the NCAA playoffs or a bowl game.
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.
Prior to his arrival in Columbia, Elliott coached his entire career at Appalachian State. 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 car 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.