Ole Miss hires new offensive line coach
OXFORD, Miss-Head coach Matt Luke made his first hire since taking the reins of the Ole Miss Football program, naming Jack Bicknell Jr. offensive line coach Friday afternoon. Bicknell comes to Oxford with 31 years of coaching experience, including 24 years in college and most recently seven seasons in the National Football League.
Bicknell spent eight seasons as the head coach at Louisiana Tech (1999-2006), where his 43 victories are still the third-most in school history. Following the 2001 season, he was named WAC Coach of the Year after leading the Bulldogs to a conference championship in its first year of membership. Bicknell also served as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach from 1997-98.
“We are excited to add Coach Bicknell’s experience and expertise to our staff,” Luke said. “Being a former head coach, he brings a perspective that I look forward to having in our coaches’ meetings. As a Super Bowl champion, his track record gives him instant credibility with our linemen, and I can’t wait to see his impact with the players.”
Bicknell joins the staff after spending two seasons as assistant offensive line coach with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. Working with offensive line coach John Benton, Bicknell assisted to guide the Dolphins’ offensive line that helped protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill during a pair of 4,000-yard passing seasons. Bicknell’s line also paved the way for running back Lamar Miller to rush for 1,971 yards over the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
Bicknell came to Miami after spending the 2013 season as the offensive line coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. While in Pittsburgh, Bicknell’s unit helped running back Le’Veon Bell amass 1,259 yards from scrimmage, the most by a Steelers rookie, surpassing Franco Harris (1,235) and became just the third Pittsburgh rookie to amass more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage.
Prior to joining the Steelers, Bicknell served as the offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012 where he directed a unit that was instrumental in helping running back Jamaal Charles return to All-Pro form after an ACL injury cut short his 2011 season. Charles returned in 2012 and set career highs in carries (285) and rushing yards (1,509) en route to his second Pro Bowl selection at the conclusion of the season.
Bicknell began his NFL coaching career with the New York Giants in 2009 and was a member of a coaching staff that helped lead the franchise to its fourth Super Bowl title with a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots on February 5, 2012. During the 2011 season, the Giants’ line anchored an offense that finished fifth in the NFL in passing while only allowing 28 sacks. During his tenure as the Giants offensive line coach, guards Chris Snee and Shaun O’Hara were selected to three straight Pro Bowls each (2009-11) for protecting former All-American Rebel quarterback Eli Manning. Following his first season with New York, three offensive linemen (Snee, O’Hara and tackle David Diehl) were selected to the 2010 Pro Bowl, marking the first time since 1962 that three Giants from the same position group were selected to the Pro Bowl.
Bicknell began his coaching career at his alma mater, Boston College, as a graduate assistant from 1985-86. Following his two seasons with the Eagles, Bicknell joined the staff at the University of New Hampshire in 1987 and spent 10 seasons with the Wildcats coaching the defensive line (1987-92) before moving to the offensive line (1993-96). Bicknell returned to Boston College in 2007 as the Eagles’ assistant head coach/offensive line coach for two seasons (2007-08) before joining the Giants in the NFL.
A three-year letterwinner as an offensive lineman, Bicknell played collegiately for his father at Boston College from 1981-85 where he was the center for 1984 Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Doug Flutie. It was Bicknell who snapped the ball to Flutie on the final play of the Boston College/Miami game which led to one of the most memorable conclusions to a game in college football history. The Flutie “Hail Mary” game-winning touchdown pass to wide receiver Gerald Phelan propelled the Eagles over the Miami Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl in 1984. In Bicknell’s final season at Boston College, he was honored with the Scanlon Award, the highest honor bestowed upon a Boston College football player, the Scarminach Award for athletic and academic excellence and the Dean’s Award in the school of education.
Bicknell comes from a family of coaches. His father, Jack, was the head coach at Boston College (1981-90) prior to becoming the head coach of the Barcelona Dragons (1991-03) of NFL Europe. His brother, Bob, has been an assistant coach at the collegiate and professional level since 1993 and in the NFL since 2007 where he been with three different teams, including, Kansas City (2007-09), Buffalo (2010-12) and Philadelphia (2013-15). Born in North Plainfield, New Jersey, Bicknell attended Orono (Maine) High School. He and his wife, Helen, have three children, John, Katelyn and Alyse.
Bicknell’s Coaching Career
2014-15: Miami Dolphins – Assistant Offensive Line Coach
2013: Pittsburgh Steelers – Offensive Line Coach
2012: Kansas City Chiefs – Offensive Line Coach
2009-11: New York Giants – Assistant Offensive Line Coach
2007-08: Boston College – Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach
1999-2006: Louisiana Tech – Head Coach
1997-98: Louisiana Tech – Offensive Line Coach
1993-96: New Hampshire – Offensive Line Coach
1987-92: New Hampshire – Defensive Line Coach
1985-86: Boston College – Graduate Assistant