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Charlie Partridge was named Florida Atlantic University's Head Football Coach on December 17, 2013 becoming just the fourth person to hold that title, since the program's inception in 2001. Partridge, a south Florida native, returned home to lead a program that completed its first season as a member of Conference USA and became eligible for a bowl game in 2013.
Partridge came to FAU after a one-year stint at the University of Arkansas where he coached three different defensive linemen to all-conference honors. Defensive ends Chris Smith and Trey Flowers were second-team All-SEC, and defensive tackle Darius Philon was voted to the SEC All-Freshman team. Smith ranked third in the SEC with 8.5 sacks, the eighth-highest single-season total in school history, and ranked seventh in the conference with 11.5 tackles for loss. Flowers ranked second in the SEC with 13.5 tackles for loss, and his three forced fumbles were fourth in the conference. Philon tied for fourth in the SEC with two forced fumbles in conference play and finished the year leading the UA defensive linemen with 46 tackles, including 9.0 for loss and 3.0 sacks.
Partridge also worked with the Razorback specialists, helping tutor kicker Zach Hocker and punter Sam Irwin-Hill. Hocker, who ended his career holding six school records, was a second-team All-SEC selection after he was 28-of-28 on PATs and 13-of-15 on field goals. Hocker made three field goals of more than 50 yards, including a 54 yarder that ranked as the eighth-longest field goal in school history. Irwin-Hill, in his first season at Arkansas, ranked fourth in the SEC and 15th in the NCAA with an average of 44.3 yards per punt. Irwin-Hill boomed a 79-yard punt that is seventh all-time at Arkansas and was tied for the second-longest punt in the NCAA during the 2013 season. Arkansas' net punting average of 39.02 yards ranked fifth in the SEC and 21st in the NCAA.
Prior to Arkansas, Partridge spent five seasons at Wisconsin where he helped the Badgers win three-straight Big Ten championships and to become the first Big Ten team to play in three-straight Rose Bowls since Michigan following the 1976-78 seasons. Before the 2011 season, he was promoted to associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach after three seasons as the Badgers' defensive line and specialists coach.
In 2012, Wisconsin led the Big Ten and ranked third in the NCAA with a three-and-out percentage of 41.72, and the Badgers' 5.23 three and outs per game topped the Big Ten and was fourth in the country. The Badgers' defense was 13th in the NCAA in total defense and tied for 19th in the country in scoring defense. Wisconsin also ranked 21st in the nation in third-down conversion defense in addition to being third in the conference in sacks and 21st in the NCAA in rush defense and pass efficiency defense and 23rd in the country in pass defense.
The Badgers also produced two of the top nine sack artists in the conference, with defensive end Brendan Kelly tied for seventh with an average of 0.45 sacks per game and defensive end Tyler Dippel's 0.42 per-game average tied for ninth. Defensive backs Devin Smith and Marcus Cromartie both ranked in the top seven in the Big Ten in passes defensed with Smith fifth and Cromartie tied for seventh. In addition, Smith also tied for third in the conference in interceptions. Linebacker Chris Borland tied for third in the Big Ten in forced fumbles and fourth in the conference in fumble recoveries, and linebacker Mike Taylor ranked fifth in the Big Ten with an average of 1.15 tackles for loss per game.
The 2011 Wisconsin defensive line typically rotated at least eight linemen every game, even after losing starting defensive end David Gilbert to a season-ending injury after the fourth game. They were a key component in Wisconsin finishing among the top 15 nationally in both scoring and total defense.
The 2010 season was highlighted by the play of J.J. Watt, who won the Lott IMPACT Trophy. Watt was the leader of Wisconsin's defense, finishing the season tied for seventh in the country in tackles for loss with 21.0. A consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection, Watt tied for second in the Big Ten in sacks with 7.0 and tied for third with three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He tied for second on the team in tackles with 62, led the team with 10 quarterback hurries and also broke up eight passes, blocked three kicks and grabbed one interception. A second-team All-American by Walter Camp, Rivals.com and CBSSports.com, Watt was named Lott IMPACT Defensive Player of the Week three times during the season. He was selected 11th overall by the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft, the highest for a Wisconsin defensive player since 1992.
In 2009, the UW defensive line exceeded all expectations after losing three senior starters from the prior year. The headliner of the group was senior defensive end O'Brien Schofield, who ranked second in the country with 24.5 tackles for loss, the second-highest total in school history. He also tied for seventh in the country and third in school history with 12.0 sacks, while Watt pitched in with 15.5 tackles for loss. The duo's 40.0 combined tackles for loss were the most by a pair of teammates in the country in 2009.
The defensive line also was instrumental in transforming Wisconsin's rush defense into one of the best in school history. The Badgers led the Big Ten and ranked fifth in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 88.2 yards per game on the ground, the second-best season average in school history. Wisconsin held each of its last 10 opponents to less than 100 yards rushing, the longest streak in the country and the longest streak in school history.
In his first year at Wisconsin, Partridge led a veteran line. The three senior starters, Matt Shaughnessy, Mike Newkirk and Jason Chapman, all earned All-Big Ten accolades while Schofield, in his first season as a starter at defensive end, tied for the team lead in sacks. Following the season, Shaughnessy was a third-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders.
In his work with the specialists, Partridge led four-year starters placekicker Philip Welch and punter Brad Nortman to leave their mark on Wisconsin's record book. Welch, a first-team Freshman All-American in 2008, finished his career ranked second in school history in points with 384, field goals made with 59 and field goal percentage at .776. Nortman, a two-time honorable mention All-Big Ten selection, was third in school history with a 42.1 career average.
Before his time at Wisconsin, Partridge spent five years at Pitt. For his first four seasons, he coached the defensive line before switching to tutor the Panthers' linebackers in 2007. He also had special teams coaching responsibilities for the last three seasons, including the last two as special teams coordinator.
Pitt ranked No. 5 nationally and led the Big East in total defense in 2007, allowing just 297.7 yards per game. In addition, the Panthers led the conference and were No. 3 in the country in pass defense, surrendering only 167.3 yards per game. Pitt was fourth in the Big East and 20th in the NCAA with 2.92 sacks per contest. The Panthers' signature defensive effort that year came when they shut down high-powered and No. 1-ranked West Virginia in a 13-9 win that eliminated the Mountaineers from national title contention. Defensive lineman Joe Clermond was a second-team All-Big East selection.
Partridge's special teams units flourished at Pitt. In 2006, his first season as special teams coordinator, Pitt led the Big East in net punting with a 37.54 average and kickoff returns at an average of 24.14 yards per return. Punter Adam Graessle was an All-Big East selection, and kick returner Lowell Robinson led the conference and finished ninth nationally with a 27.9-yard average. ESPN's 2006 college football "play of the year" selection was a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown by Pitt's Darrelle Revis against West Virginia. Revis was drafted 14th overall in the first round by the New York Jets in the 2007 NFL Draft.
Prior to his years at Pitt, Partridge served as recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach at Eastern Illinois in 2002 and helped lead the team to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs after sharing the Ohio Valley Conference title.
Partridge worked for head coach Dan McCarney at Iowa State from 1998-2001. He was a defensive graduate assistant in 1998-99 and worked with outside linebackers. He became the program's director of football operations in 2000.
Partridge was an NSCA All-American at Drake, where he played defensive line. He was a three-year starter and team captain for the Bulldogs before starting his coaching career at his alma mater as a graduate assistant in 1996-97. He coached running backs, including a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, and served as a strength and conditioning coach.
Partridge, a Plantation, Fla., native, earned a bachelor's degree in secondary education from Drake in 1995 and a master's degree in education from Iowa State in 2002. Partridge and his wife, Julie, have two daughters, Alexa and Kylee.
The Partridge File
Hometown: Plantation, Fla.
College: Drake, 1995
Children: daughters, Alexa and Kylee
1996-97: Drake (Graduate Assistant - offense)
1998-99: Iowa State (Graduate Assistant - defense)
2000-01: Iowa State (Director of Football Operations)
2002: Eastern Illinois (Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2003-05: Pitt (Defensive Line)
2006: Pitt (Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2007: Pitt (Special Teams Coordinator/Linebackers)
2008-10: Wisconsin (Defensive Line/Specialists)
2011-12: Wisconsin (Associate Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line)
2013: Arkansas (Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Line)
Bowl Games Coached
2000 Insight.com Bowl
2001 Independence Bowl
2003 Continental Tire Bowl
2004 Fiesta Bowl
2008 Champs Sports Bowl
2009 Champs Sports Bowl
2010 Rose Bowl
2011 Rose Bowl
2011 Big Ten Football Championship Game
2012 Rose Bowl
1992-95: Drake (Defensive line)