Norries Wilson Named Columbia’s Head Coach of Football; Becomes First Black Head Coach In Ivy League History

By Off The BASN Sports Wire
Updated: December 12, 2005

NEW YORK – Norries Wilson, offensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut, has been named Columbia’s head football coach, Dr. M. Dianne Murphy, director of athletics and physical education at Columbia announced Monday.

Wilson, who served as offensive coordinator at UConn for the past four seasons, was one of five finalists for the Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach in 2004, a season in which the Huskies led the Big East in both total and scoring offense. In 2003, he guided UConn’s offense that posted 477.5 yards per game, which ranked eighth in the nation.

“Norries Wilson is a dynamic leader with a full complement of leadership, coaching, management and communication skills who will take this program where we want to go,” says Murphy. “We are proud to have Coach Wilson on board as the head coach of the Lions.”

Wilson is the 18th head coach in the 135-year history of football at Columbia. He replaces Bob Shoop, who was relieved as head coach in November following a 2-8 season and a three-year record of 7-23.

In 2002, Wilson was promoted to the Huskies’ offensive coordinator after joining the UConn staff in 1999 as offensive line coach. He continued to work specifically with the Huskies’ centers and guards. In 2004, UConn defeated Toledo to win the Motor City Bowl. Three members of that team’s offense went on to sign National Football League contracts.

Prior to the 2004 season, Wilson was one of 12 coaches selected to participate in the NCAA Expert Coaching Program. The program is designed to teach and reinforce various aspects of securing, managing and excelling in NCAA head coaching positions at the Division I-A level.

Before UConn, Wilson spent four seasons at Bucknell. He was the Bisons’ offensive line coach in 1995 and 1996 before a promotion to offensive coordinator in 1997 and 1998. He was also defensive coordinator at Livingstone College (1993), offensive line/tight ends coach at North Carolina Central (1991-92) and graduate assistant at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota (1989-90).

Wilson was a captain and two-year starter for the Gophers. In 1985, the team defeated Clemson to win the Independence Bowl and competed in the Liberty Bowl vs. Tennessee the following year. He was a three-year letterwinner in football, and earned two letters and qualified for the NCAA Championships as a heavyweight in wrestling. He graduated from Minnesota in 1989 with a degree in psychology.

In addition to his college coaching experience, Wilson has served minority coaching fellowships in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs (1992), the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995) and the Indianapolis Colts (2000).

A native of Markham Ill., where he attended Thornwood High School, Wilson is married to the former Brenda Marquis, who played forward on UConn’s first women’s basketball national championship team. The couple had their first son, Cecil, on February 17, 2005.