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Bob Elliott dies at age 64; spent 38 years as college assistant

Bob Elliott, who spent 38 years coaching college football, died Saturday of complications from cancer. He was 64.

Elliott was hired as a defensive analyst at Nebraska this past winter and remained active with the program until May. He coached for nine football programs during his lengthy career, including more than a decade at Iowa, his alma mater.

"Bob was an outstanding individual with the highest integrity as a person, and as a football coach," Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. "Along with being an outstanding player and excelling in academics during his Iowa career, Bob was a dedicated coach and family man, always putting others ahead of himself. Bob touched the lives of many student-athletes, along with those he coached and worked with throughout his career. Bob was a great Hawkeye and contributed to our program as a player, coach and graduate of the University of Iowa."

Nebraska coach Mike Riley tweeted that Nebraska was "deeply saddened" by Elliott's death.

Elliott rose to the position of assistant head coach under Hayden Fry at Iowa and appeared to be in line to be Fry's successor in 1999 when he was first struck by health problems. Elliott had a rare form of blood cancer that required a bone marrow transplant.

"He was a great coach, a great man, a great father," Fry told the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Sunday. "He had a wonderful family. I know this is truly sad for everyone who had the opportunity to have Bobby as their coach, and his fellow coaches."

In 2012, Elliott helped coach Notre Dame to a BCS championship game appearance while going through kidney dialysis. He received a kidney transplant in February 2013.

Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly tweeted of Elliott that he "will miss him dearly."

The son of former Michigan coach and Iowa athletic director Bump Elliott, Bob Elliott was raised in Ann Arbor and Iowa City. He played defensive back for the Hawkeyes, where he became a two-time Academic All-American and was a Rhodes Scholar candidate in 1976.

He worked as a graduate assistant for Iowa the year after he graduated and missed only two seasons of college football over the next four decades.