2013 Memphis Football National Signing Day.
Brad Cornelsen begins his second season as the Tigers quarterbacks coach.
In 2012 Cornelsen mentored Jacob Karam who set a Memphis season record with a 64.2 pass completion percentage. The Tigers' three pass interceptions thrown in 2012 were the fewest in recorded history, breaking the old mark of six set in 2001.
In Conference USA games, Memphis raised its total offense from 243 yards per game the previous season to 327yards an outing (a 26 percent increase). Overall, the Tigers' 318 total offense mark represented a 44-yard improvement from 2011.
Memphis' 71.43 fourth-down percentage ranked tied for seventh nationally. Only five teams converted on fourth down more times than the Tigers.
In Cornelsen's first season on the Memphis staff, the Tigers posted a 4-4 mark in Conference USA play, winning more league games in 2012 than the previous combined three seasons. Memphis' 4-8 overall record marked the team's best finish since 2008.
Cornelsen joined the Tigers from Northeastern State (NSU), a Division II program located in Tahlequah, Okla., where he served as the Riverhawks' offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. In 2011, NSU ranked among the nation's leaders in passing offense (13th; 291 ypg) and total offense (22nd; 440 ypg). NSU finished 2011 with a 7-5 record and a Mineral Water Bowl appearance. The seven wins were the program's most since 2000, and the bowl appearance was the Riverhawks' first since 2000.
With Cornelsen's guidance, quarterback Johnny Deaton passed for 2,520 yards and 26 touchdowns in 2011. In addition, receiver Trey McVay was an All-America first team pick after logging 82 receptions for 1,533 yards. McVay ranked second in NCAA Division II in receiving yards per game. He also set the all-time single season receiving yards total at NSU.
A native of Texhoma, Okla., Cornelsen spent the 2008 season at Oklahoma State, where he worked with quarterbacks and special teams. The Cowboys finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and earned a berth in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. Cornelsen also spent the 2001-02 seasons as a graduate assistant coach at Oklahoma State, where he worked with quarterbacks and wide receivers.
Cornelsen coached five seasons at Illinois State (2003-07), where Justin Fuente also served as an assistant from 2001-06. The Tigers offensive staff should be familiar with each other as Fuente, Cornelsen and Holman Wiggins (2006-10 at ISU) all coached together in 2006 at Illinois State. Offensive line coach Vance Vice also was on the Redbirds staff from 2000-04.
In his first four seasons at Illinois State, Cornelsen guided the receiving corps. He mentored Laurent Robinson, who was selected in the 2007 NFL Draft third round by the Atlanta Falcons. In 2005, the All-American rewrote the school and conference record books with 86 receptions for 1,465 yards. In the final game of the 2005 season, Robinson totaled 292 yards on 14 catches against Indiana State. The single-game yardage total set both league and school marks. Robinson went on to claim the conference's Offensive Player of the Year Award and was a consensus All-America selection.
In 2004, Cornelsen had three receivers post 30 or more catches each, the most by a Redbirds trio since 1996. The previous season (2003), Cornelsen was instrumental in the success of All-Gateway Conference first team receiver Dwayne Smith, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards per game. That 2003 campaign also saw the Redbirds offense rank first in the conference in total offense with 420 yards per outing.
In 2007, Cornelsen moved to coaching quarterbacks and helped senior Luke Drone to an All-Gateway Conference season with 2,222 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Cornelsen graduated from Missouri Southern State with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 2000. With the Lions, Cornelsen became the first quarterback in the history of NCAA Division II football to pass for 4,000 yards and rush for 2,000 yards in a career.
After graduation, Cornelsen served one-year student assistant stints with his alma mater and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. He worked as a graduate assistant at Northwest Missouri State (2001) and Oklahoma State prior to landing an assistant coaching position at Illinois State in 2003.
He and wife, Jaimi, were married in the summer of 2011.