Former Rice quality control coach Eli Wicklund joined the Bucknell staff in the spring of 2016. After spending his first year working with the running backs, he moved to the defensive side of the ball in 2017 to coach the cornerbacks.
In 2017, Wicklund's cornerbacks, including All-Patriot League Second Team honoree Colin Jonov, helped the Bison rank fourth nationally in passing defense (148.3) and 11th in total defense (294.6). Jonov was at the center of one of the FCS's most dramatic plays; at Lafayette, he intercepted a pass on the first play of overtime and returned it a school-record 95 yards for a touchdown to lift Bucknell to a 13-7 victory.
In his first campaign with the Bison, Wicklund coached a pair of running backs who exceeded 600 rushing yards: All-Patriot League Second Team selection Joey DeFloria (1,070) and Chad Freshnock (604). DeFloria’s total ranks eighth in school history and is one of just 10 1,000-yard campaigns recorded by a Bucknell running back.
Wicklund has previous collegiate coaching experience at Miami (Ohio), North Park University and Rice. Wicklund joined the Rice coaching staff in the spring of 2014 and spent two years as a quality control coach.
Before his stint at Rice, Wicklund coached the defensive backs for one season at North Park University in Chicago. In 2013, the Vikings had their best finish in the conference since 1971. That same season, he coached cornerback Phillip Pendleton to Second Team All-Conference honors. He also served as the team’s video coordinator and equipment manager.
Wicklund joined the Vikings from Miami University, where spent eight seasons with the RedHawks in a variety of roles, concluding his tenure as a defensive graduate assistant working with the defensive backs and linebackers.
A 2009 graduate of Miami with a B.S. in sports studies with minors in coaching and English literature, Wicklund joined the RedHawk staff that same year in dual positions as a recruiting and defensive intern.
As an undergraduate, Wicklund held a variety of positions and responsibilities. As a senior in 2008, he moved onto the field during practices as a student assistant with the wide receivers and into the press box on game days assisting with opponent charting all the while continuing with the responsibilities of student defensive quality control off the field. He started as a freshman video staff volunteer in 2005.
Wicklund’s wife, Lauren, is Bucknell’s associate director of athletics for leadership development. They have one daughter, Sydney.
RECRUITING AREAS: Ohio's Greater Columbus and Greater Cincinnati Areas
Alternate Areas: Greater Chicago Area, Indiana (Indianapolis), Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan