New York native Rob Spence begins his second season as quarterbacks coach at Rutgers. A 24-year collegiate coaching veteran, Spence has a wealth of experience under his belt, including serving as an offensive coordinator for 16 seasons. Among the schools he served as offensive coordinator include Clemson, Toledo, Louisiana Tech and Syracuse.
Spence joined Kyle Flood’s inaugural coaching staff “On the Banks” prior to the 2012 season. Ironically, Flood was the first player Spence recruited at Iona in 1989 and the two coached together at Hofstra from 1997-99.
Spence’s experience and knowledge of the most crucial position on the field proved beneficial to the Scarlet Knights in his first season. Under Spence’s guidance, sophomore quarterback Gary Nova finished the year second on Rutgers’ single-season touchdown passes list with 22 (a RU sophomore record) and fifth on the school’s single-season passing yardage list with 2,695 (a RU sophomore record).
With Spence’s help, Nova had one of the best games in Rutgers football history against Arkansas on September 22. The sophomore threw for 397 yards (third on RU’s single-game list) and five touchdowns (tied for fifth on RU’s all-time list), earning him BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Spence came to Rutgers after serving as offensive coordinator at Bethune-Cookman in 2011 for former Rutgers wide receivers coach Brian Jenkins. Spence’s offense at Bethune-Cookman averaged 33.9 points per game (15th nationally) and averaged just under 260 yards rushing per game, fifth in the nation. B-CC ranked 12th in the Football Championship Subdivision in total offense (435.3 yards per game) and led the conference in rushing offense, total offense and scoring offense.
A native of Pelham, N.Y., Spence spent 2010 as the wide receivers coach at Temple and the 2009 season at Syracuse as the offensive coordinator.
Prior to joining the Orange, Spence enjoyed a successful four-year tenure at Clemson. The Tigers were balanced on offense and then some during the last three years under Spence. In fact, one can make a case that Clemson was the most-balanced offense in the ACC, a contributing reason the Tigers had two top-25 seasons, went to three bowl games, and won 25 games, the most victories in a three-year period since the 1989-91 era.
Since Spence came to Clemson prior to the 2005 season, the Tigers finished in the top four in the ACC in rushing, passing, and total offense every year, the only ACC team that can make that claim. What has been most impressive is that this level of consistency has been achieved with a different starting quarterback eachyear. The Tigers had Charlie Whitehurst calling signals in 2005, Spence's first year, Will Proctor in 2006, and Cullen Harper in 2007.
The 2007 offense averaged over 400 yards and 33 points per game with a young group of Tigers at the skill position. James Davis was a 1,000-yard rusher and Aaron Kelly was a 1,000-yard receiver, just the second time that Clemson had one of each in the same year.
Clemson led the ACC in scoring offense twice under Spence. His ability to use dynamic players C.J. Spiller, Davis, Kelly (2007 ACC leader in yards per game), Jacoby Ford, Harper, and many others has been the key. A Tiger led the ACC in receptions or yards over Spence’s first three years at Clemson.
Harper's 2007 season was especially noteworthy, as he established 22 school records directly under Spence's guidance. That included his 27 touchdown passes against six interceptions. He led the ACC in passing efficiency, the first Tiger to pace the ACC in that category since 1983.
In 2006, his second year as offensive coordinator, Clemson gained at least 2,500 yards rushing and passing, one of just four schools nationally to exceed those marks. It was also just the second time in school history it had been done.Clemson led the ACC and was in the top 13 in the nation in total offense, rushing offense, and scoring offense. It marked just the third time in history that the Tiger offense finished in the top 20 in all three areas.
In 2006, the Tigers led the ACC in yards per play (6.5), touchdowns (55), and third-down conversion percentage (42). The touchdown total and yards-per-play figures were Tiger records as well.
Spence was the architect of one of the most-improved offenses in Tiger history in his first season. The 2005 Tigers improved 89 yards per game in total offense over 2004, the fourth-biggest jump in school history and the eighth-best improvement among Division I-A teams.
Clemson's success on offense has been of no surprise to those who have followed Spence's career. The veteran assistant led Toledo to four straight top-13 final marks in total offense and helped the Rocket program to 35 wins from 2001-04. Twice in his four years, the Rockets were in the top 20 in the nation in rushing, and twice the team was in the top 20 in passing.
Spence was not a one-year wonder at Toledo. All four of his offenses were in the top 13 in the nation in total offense and top 25 in scoring offense.
Spence guided an offense that averaged 474.1 yards and 35.2 points per game in the2004 regular season that included a 9-3 overall record and MAC title. It was the third time in four years that Toledo played for the league title.
Spence came to Toledo after a year as co-offensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech, where he tutored freshman Luke McCown, who threw for 2,533 yards and 21 scores on the way to a freshman All-America season.
Spence was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Hofstra from 1997-99. In 1999, it averaged 34 points a game, and the team had an 11-2 record and No. 5 final national ranking.
Spence was an assistant at Maryland (1992-96) under Mark Duffner, as Maryland set 70 school offensive records. As quarterbacks coach in 1994, Maryland was 10th in the nation in passing. In 1991, Spence coached the quarterbacks at Holy Cross under Duffner, and he helped the Crusaders to an 11-0 record and No. 3 national ranking.
Spence worked as offensive coordinator at Hofstra in 1990, helping that program to a 12-1 record and No. 3 national ranking. He was also the offensive coordinator at Iona, his alma mater, in 1989, and that team posted an 8-2 record.
Spence began his coaching career as an assistant at Pelham (N.Y.) Memorial High School in 1981 before moving to Iona Prep School in 1982. He was the varsity offensive coordinator in 1982 and head junior varsity coach in 1983. He then became the head coach at Iona Prep in 1984, a position he served for five years until he started his college coaching career at Iona. His five-year head coaching record was 29-19-1 at Iona Prep.
Spence, a native of Pelham, N.Y., played football at Saint Andrews School in Middletown, Del. (1972-75). He went on to play tight end at Iona from 1978-81. He earned his bachelor's degree in social work from Iona in 1981 and later earned his master's degree in education from Iona in 1990.
An avid runner who ran in the Boston Marathon in April of 2004, Spence and hiswife Susan have two daughters, Samantha and Sydney Rae.
The Spence File
Hometown: Pellham, N.Y.
Alma Mater: Iona, 1981
Children: Samantha, Sydney Rae
2012 – Rutgers (quarterbacks)
2011 – Bethune-Cookman (offensive coordinator)
2010 – Temple (wide receivers)
2009 – Syracuse (offensive coordinator)
2005-08 – Clemson (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
2001-04 – Toledo (assistant head coach/offensive coordinator)
2000 – Louisiana Tech (co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1999 – Hofstra (associate head coach/offensive coordinator)
1997-98 – Hofstra (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1994-96 – Maryland (quarterbacks)
1992-93 – Maryland (inside receivers/tight ends)
1991 – Holy Cross (quarterbacks)
1990 – Hofstra (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks)
1989 – Iona (offensive coordinator)
Played tight end at Iona (1978-81).