Tallahassee, FL – Florida State graduate James Coley is returning to Tallahassee and joining the Seminole football coaching staff. Coley has accepted the position of tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator on head coach Bobby Bowden’s staff. Coley comes to Florida State after a brief but very successful tenure as the offensive coordinator at FIU. Coley has been coaching for more than a decade and was on offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher’s staff at LSU. He replaces John Lilly who accepted a job with the Georgia Bulldogs.
“I am thrilled to be a part of this staff,” said Coley. “To work for coach Bowden is an honor and I know I will have the opportunity to learn from his years of experience and success. He built Florida State football into a power and I grew up idolizing him as a kid. It means so much to come back and work at my alma mater. I am a Seminole and am very proud of my school. I bleed Garnet and Gold and it means so much to be able to come back here.”
Coley is experienced at the high school, collegiate and professional levels of football. In addition to his work at Florida International University, the Miami native has worked in the NFL where he spent two years on Nick Saban’s Miami Dolphins staff. His coaching resume also includes stops at 2003 National Champion Louisiana State University and 2002 Florida 6A State Champion Norland High.
“We are excited to have James Coley join our staff,” said FSU Head Coach Bobby Bowden. “He has been successful from high school all the way to the National Football League. He not only brings a great deal of experience but he is a Florida State graduate as well.”
In his first season with the Golden Panthers in 2007, Coley needed just six games to revamp the FIU offense. Through the first six contests of the season, Florida International’s schedule featured five bowl teams from 2006. With Coley installing his new offense, the Golden Panthers scored a total of 44 points and averaged 211.7 yards of offense per game but that all changed in the second half of the season. In its final six games FIU’s offense scored 137 points and averaged 327.7 yards per game. On top of more than tripling its points scored in the second half of the year, Coley’s ground game almost doubled its output (85.5 ypg to 152.7 ypg) and the passing offense increased by almost 39% (126.2 ypg to 175.0 ypg).
FIU posted its best offensive performance in nearly two years against Louisiana-Lafayette (11/17/07), scoring 28 points and compiling 391 yards of total offense. The 28 points equaled the previous year’s season-high and the 391 yards were the most since the team had 438 yards of offense in the 2005 season finale against Middle Tennessee. In addition, FIU’s 264 yards rushing against Lafayette were the most since producing 266 yards on the ground against Florida Atlantic in the 2005 season. The team had 377 yards of total offense against FAU on 11/24/07, marking the first time since 2005 that FIU had at least 375 yards of total offense in consecutive weeks. In the 38-19 season finale win against North Texas, Coley's offense scored the most points by a FIU team since a 52-6 win against Florida Atlantic on Nov. 26, 2005.
2007 FIU Offense
Games 1-6 Games 7-12
Rush Pass Total Avg Rush Pass Total Avg
513 757 1270 211.7 916 1,050 1,966 327.7
Under Coley’s guidance, FIU’s rushing offense was the most prolific in school history in 2007. The Golden Panthers rushed for a record 1,429 yards and also set a new school record with 430 attempts on the ground. His offense also became the top fourth quarter offense in school history.
In 2007, Coley coached quarterback Wayne Younger to a freshman and quarterback rushing record 536 yards, including 124 on the ground against Arkansas. Tailback Trenard Turner set single-game and season receiving records by a running back and the Golden Panther offense recorded three passing plays 49 yards or longer, all for touchdowns.
Working primarily with Dolphins receivers in the 2006 season, including All-Pro Chris Chambers, Coley was responsible for future opponent breakdown of defenses and self-scouting as the offensive quality control coach. In his first year with the Dolphins, Coley worked with the team’s running backs as an offensive assistant, including Ricky Williams and first-round pick Ronnie Brown. The duo combined for 1,650 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns to lead the AFC’s seventh-ranked rushing offense.
“James is an outstanding young coach and he did a fantastic job for us both at LSU and with the Miami Dolphins,” said University of Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. “He is an excellent teacher, has great enthusiasm and energy and really had a positive impact on the players.”
Coley joined the Dolphins after spending 2003 and 2004 as an offensive graduate assistant at LSU on Jimbo Fisher’s staff. The Tigers won a share of the 2003 National Championship, were the 2003 Southeastern Conference Champions and played in the 2004 Citrus Bowl with Coley working behind the scenes. He was responsible for breaking down tape, assisting in game plans and scouting reports and serving as the signal caller. His focus at LSU was the Tigers’ quarterbacks, which included Matt Mauck and 2007 NFL No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell.
“We are very excited to have James on our staff,” said Fisher. “He is a bright coach and up and coming in our business. He has a great background. He has worked with me before and has knowledge of our offense, what we do and the specifics of it. He also has excellent experience in the NFL where he worked with running backs and receivers.
“James was an offensive assistant there under current Dallas Cowboy offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. He is a great recruiter and a great person who knows the state of Florida. He will be an asset to our staff.”
Prior to coming to LSU, Coley was an assistant coach at Norland High School. In 2002, Coley served as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach, as the team finished 13-2 and won the Florida 6A State Championship. While at Norland, Coley coached several players who had standout college seasons in 2006, including Dwayne Bowe (LSU), Kareem Brown (Miami), Alexander Bostic III (FIU) and Antwan Barnes (FIU).
Coley began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant at Miami Senior High School, coaching the quarterbacks on offenses that produced current NFL players Andre Johnson (Houston Texans) and Roscoe Parrish (Buffalo Bills).
He graduated from Florida State University in 1997 and received his masters in kinesiology in 2004 from LSU. He is married to the former Kenia Gomez.
Full Name: James R. Coley
Hometown: Miami, Florida
Education: B.A. in English, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida (1997)
M.S. in kinesiology, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana (2004)
Coley's Coaching Career
2007: Florida International University (offensive coordinator)
2006: Miami Dolphins (offensive quality control)
2005: Miami Dolphins (offensive assistant)
2003-04: Louisiana State University (offensive graduate assistant)
2000-02: Norland H.S., Miami, Fla. (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator/QBs)
1997-2000: Miami Senior High School, Miami, Fla. (quarterbacks)