New Texas A&M football coach brings expertise from Hofstra, Stony Brook and Kings Point


Newly hired Texas A&M football coach Mike Elko has deep roots in the Long Island coaching community.

Signed on by the Aggies in late November, Elko, 46, previously served on coaching staffs at three college football programs in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

From 2006-2008, the New Jersey native was the defensive coordinator at Hofstra, serving under head coach Dave Cohen, a Commack High School graduate who is now the assistant head coach at Wake Forest.

Under Elko’s direction, Hofstra’s defense in 2007 ranked first in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and 11th in the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision in rushing defense. That year, the Pride ranked second in the conference and 15th in the country in total defense.

“Mike is a great defensive mind who has the ability to dissect offense — both in game preparation and in-game adjustments,” Cohen told “Mike also does a tremendous job evaluating talent in recruiting.”

Early in his career, Elko had one-year stints at U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, where he worked in 2001 as the defensive coordinator, and at Stony Brook, where he coached the inside linebackers as a graduate assistant in 1999.

From 2002-2003, he was also an assistant coach with Fordham, helping the Rams in 2002 to a Patriot League title after a 10-3 season.

For the last two years, Elko has served as the head coach at Duke, with a staff that featured former Stony Brook All-American Tyler Santucci as defensive coordinator. Elko was brought on at Texas A&M to replace Jumbo Fisher, just days after Duke capped off a 7-5 regular season with a 30-19 win over Pitt.

Elko served as Fisher’s defensive coordinator for four years at Texas A&M, departing for Duke after the 2021 season. At Duke, he went 16-9 over two falls — the Blue Devils had won just 10 games combined the three previous years.

“Coach Mike Elko is one of the best leaders and coaches in college football and has had high-level success at each stop of his career,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said. “He is known amongst coaching circles as one of the best defensive minds in the country and has shown his ability to lead and turn around a program as a Power Five head coach.”

Texas A&M fired Fisher in November, forking over a record buyout of more than $75 million to move on from him with two games left in his sixth season with the Aggies.

Elko, who also had stints as defensive coordinator at Wake Forest and Notre Dame, led defenses that ranked in the top three of the Southeastern Conference in his final two seasons with A&M.

This season at Duke, Elko guided the Blue Devils to a 4-0 start, but they struggled after quarterback Riley Leonard was injured at the end of a close loss to Notre Dame.

“Mike’s ability to motivate young men to play to their best of their abilities is as good as anyone I have worked with,” Cohen said.

Elko was a key recruiter for Fisher at Texas A&M and directed a defense that was the best part of Fisher’s most successful team in 2020, which went 9-1. During the first four seasons of Fisher’s tenure, with Elko on staff, the Aggies went 34-14 and landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country in 2022.

Texas A&M opens its 2024 season against Notre Dame on Aug. 31.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Mike Elko’s coaching jobs

  • 2022-pres. – Duke (Head Coach)
  • 2018-21 – Texas A&M (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2017 – Notre Dame (Defensive Coordinator)
  • 2014-16 – Wake Forest (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2012-13 – Bowling Green (Defensive Coordinator/Safeties)
  • 2009-11 – Bowling Green (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2008 – Hofstra (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2007 – Hofstra (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2006 – Hofstra (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs)
  • 2005 – Richmond (Special Teams/Recruiting Coordinator)
  • 2004 – Richmond (Linebackers/Recruiting Coordinator)
  • 2003 – Fordham (Co-Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers)
  • 2002 – Fordham (Linebackers)
  • 2001 – U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs)
  • 2000 – Penn (Defensive Backs)
  • 1999 – Stony Brook (Graduate Assistant/Inside Linebackers)

Top image: Mike Elko in 2021 as the defensive coordinator of Texas A&M (Source: Facebook)

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