Wisconsin names Engram as offensive coordinator

Accomplished coach joins Badgers after successful run with Ravens

An accomplished coach at the college and professional levels, Bobby Engram brings a wealth of experience and a track record of high-level success to the Wisconsin football program, which he joins for the 2022 season as the Badgers’ offensive coordinator.

“I’m really excited for our players and for our program,” said head coach Paul Chryst, who enters his eighth season at the helm of his alma mater. “Bobby is a great person who has tremendous knowledge of the game. I’ve seen first-hand the impact he can have on players and there’s no doubt in my mind that he will help our program both on and off the field. He knows this place and is aligned with our culture, and I think that’s important. With his experience, he brings a fresh perspective that will help our program moving forward.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me to join a proven program, a consistently successful program, one that I’ve admired for a long time,” Engram said. “The tradition at Wisconsin is a big deal to me. Being able to join a special program, impact our young men and contribute to winning championships is why I’m here.”

Engram, 49, joins the Badgers’ staff after spending eight seasons in the NFL becoming a highly-respected assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens. His first five years in Baltimore saw him serve as wide receivers coach before he spent the last three seasons mentoring the Ravens’ tight ends.

“Becoming an offensive coordinator is a big step, but it’s all about this being a good fit,” Engram said. “I believe in Wisconsin and our philosophies are the same — I appreciate the way this program runs the ball, I love the way they play defense — and my focus will be on doing everything I can to elevate the offense and help our team win games.

“Running the football well is important, using the play-action pass, being multiple and doing a lot of different things offensively, but doing them well. For me, it’s bringing a fresh look and my own sense of creativity to what’s already been proven successful here. I’ve been fortunate to be around some great coaches and players in the NFL, and I want to bring the best of what I’ve learned to the Badgers.”

Engram has helped develop a number of standout players during his time in the NFL, with Ravens TE Mark Andrews the latest example of his impact. Selected as the tight end on the 2021 All-Pro team, Andrews set franchise records with 107 receptions for 1,361 receiving yards this season and earned his second Pro Bowl nod in three seasons.

Engram’s tight ends have been key to the Ravens’ record-setting offensive success over the last three years, including the 14-2 effort in 2019 that saw Baltimore lead the NFL in scoring (33.2 points) and rushing (206 yards per game) while ranking No. 2 in total yards (407.6 per game). Andrews had 64 catches for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns that year on his way to the Pro Bowl, leading a trio of tight ends that ranked among the Ravens’ top five reception leaders.

With Engram joining Chryst, Bobby April III, Bob Bostad, Gary Brown and Alvis Whitted, the Badgers’ staff now includes six members with NFL coaching experience. Three other UW assistants have experience in the league as players: Jim Leonhard, Ross Kolodziej and Hank Poteat.

Prior to his time in Baltimore, Engram spent two seasons as wide receivers coach on Chryst’s staff at the University of Pittsburgh from 2012-13. Engram developed a star in his second season with the Panthers, with WR Tyler Boyd recording 85 receptions for 1,174 yards to break the school’s freshman records — previously held by Larry Fitzgerald — in both categories on his way to being named Freshman All-America.

“I think Paul’s a great offensive mind and that part of working with him again is certainly exciting,” Engram said. “But what really comes through with Paul is that he truly enjoys being around the players and making sure everything we do is about them. He loves to work hard, knowing that it’s going to produce results, and everyone feeds off that.

“My approach is to have a team that plays hard and physical and is fundamentally sound in everything we’re doing.

I think that aligns perfectly with what Paul and this coaching staff are all about,” Engram said. “I’m a big guy on technique. I love individual drills in practice. Being able to have an impact on young men this age — as they grow both on and off the field — is important to me and a huge reason why I’m excited for this opportunity.”

As a college player, Engram developed into a prolific wide receiver at Penn State and still holds the Nittany Lions’ career records for receiving yards (3,026) and touchdown receptions (31). He was the inaugural winner of the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best wide receiver in 1994, when he caught 52 passes for 1,029 yards to earn first-team All-America honors and help the Nittany Lions to an undefeated season and Big Ten championship. Engram was named first-team All-Big Ten in each of his final three seasons at Penn State.

He went on to an accomplished 14-year career as a pro after being selected by the Chicago Bears in the second round of the 1996 NFL Draft. Engram played in 176 career games for Chicago, Seattle and Kansas City, totaling 650 receptions for 7,751 yards and 35 touchdowns. In 2005, he was the leading receiver for the Seahawks team that played in Super Bowl XL. In 2007, his 12th NFL season, Engram posted career highs in receptions (94), yards (1,147) and touchdowns (6) in leading the Seahawks to the NFC West title.

Engram’s familiarity with the Wisconsin program is due in part to his son Dean, who will be a junior wide receiver for the Badgers in 2022. He spent his first three seasons in the UW program on defense and has played in 20 career games. He played in all 13 games last season, including five starts at cornerback.

“It’s going to be special, especially having this opportunity to be with my son at the collegiate level,” Engram said. “I’ve never coached Dean in football. I coached him in basketball and in baseball, but this is going to be a unique experience — once in a lifetime. We both want to be the best we can be to help the team win.”