With four years of coaching experience in the NFL, plus 14 seasons of tutoring collegiate defensive backs at the Division I level, Mike Gillhamer heads into his first season as the defensive coordinator at the University of Louisville after a two-year stint coaching the secondary at the University of Oregon.
During his first year at OU, a pair of his pupils, Rashad Bauman and Steve Smith, were NFL draft choices, with Smith ranking among the Pac-10 and national leaders in interceptions (9). In 2002, cornerback Steven Moore and safety Keith Lewis tied for second in the league in interceptions (5), and Moore also stood second in break-ups (12) and passes defended (17).
Prior to his stint in Eugene, Gillhamer spent four years working with the running backs for the New York Giants. He assisted with the running backs for the first three years of his NFL tenure before taking total control of the backfield during the 2000 season when the Giants ranked third in the NFC in rushing (125.6 avg.) while winning the NFC to reach the Super Bowl.
Outside of his stint on the offensive side of the ball with the Giants, the majority of the former Humboldt State standout's coaching expertise lies on the defensive side of the football.
The Fresno, Calif., native, who was the Lumberjacks' 1975 most valuable defensive back, initiated his collegiate coaching career with a five-year stint at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, Calif., overseeing the defensive line his first season, 1979, before moving to the secondary from 1980-83. He then spent one year as defensive backs coach at Weber State before doing the same at Utah (1985-89) and San Jose State (1990-93).
Gillhamer moved on to Nevada to tutor the secondary in 1994, working alongside current U of L head coach Bobby Petrino who served as the Wolf Pack's offensive coordinator. The following season Gillhamer took the reigns of the Wolf Pack's defense as the coordinator during the 1995 season.
He then served as defensive secondary coach at Rutgers before migrating to the NFL the following year. After graduating from Humboldt State in 1976, where he also ran track and played baseball, Gillhamer received his master's degree in special education from Humboldt State in 1981 and later served as a "guest" assistant coach with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the Canadian Football League in 1988.
Gillhamer and his wife, Tammy have two daughters -- Meagen and Taylor.