Mick McCall is entering his seventh season as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Northwestern, where he has mentored an All-Big Ten quarterback in four of the last five years. He began his Wildcat tenure on Jan. 17, 2008.
McCall has been the architect of some of the most unique offensive systems in recent seasons. That includes 2012 when he utilized a pair of quarterbacks with contrasting styles, with both Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian taking charge of the offense throughout the season. Colter started 12 of 13 games and posted a passer efficiency rating of 129.3 while also running for 894 yards and a team-best 12 touchdowns. Siemian, meanwhile, was a lethal pocket passer and orchestrator of the two-minute offense, throwing for 1,312 yards and six touchdowns off the bench.
McCall also took advantage of one of the nation's most dynamic running backs, inserting Venric Mark as the team's opening-day starter and helping the junior become NU's first 1,000-yard rusher since 2006. Mark racked up eight 100-yard rushing games and 12 touchdowns, leading an NU rushing attack that ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 226.3 yards per game. McCall's offense produced 31.7 points per game and a pair of second-team All-Big Ten selections in Mark and offensive lineman Brian Mulroe.
McCall also successfully implemented the two-quarterback system in 2011 as returning All-Big Ten signal-caller Dan Persa shared snaps with the dynamic Kain Colter. McCall helped Colter post a 2-1 mark as the starter while Persa fully recovered from a ruptured Achilles tendon and, after Persa's return, employed Colter as a quarterback-running back-receiver hybrid. Colter compiled 673 passing yards, 654 rushing yards and 466 receiving yards and was involved in 18 total touchdowns on the year.
Persa in 2011 led the conference in passing yards per game (237.6) eventually finished as the most accurate passer in NCAA history with a record-setting career completion percentage of 72.7. In all, Northwestern landed six offensive players on the 2011 all-conference teams: Persa, Colter, WR Jeremy Ebert, OL Al Netter, OL Brian Mulroe and Big Ten Tight End of the Year Drake Dunsmore.
McCall helped NU to a 9-4 record in his first year in Evanston while dealing with a bevy of injuries to standout performers on NU's offensive unit. Quarterback C.J. Bachér finished 33rd in the nation and second in the Big Ten in total offense. When an injury kept for him out for two games, McCall tweaked the offense to allow Mike Kafka to break the Big Ten record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 217 at Minnesota.
McCall's version of the spread offense truly spread out the ball in 2008, with 14 different Wildcat catching passes on the year. Senior Eric Peterman led the team with 737 yards receiving and six touchdowns en route to an honorable mention All-Big Ten nod. Senior Ross Lane had a team-high 60 receptions to lead a contingent of eight Wildcats who earned double-digit catches.
Remaining true to Northwestern's tradition of running out of the spread, McCall's offense saw great production from Tyrell Sutton before an injury felled him for the remainder of the regular season after eight games. Sutton averaged 98.9 yards per game rushing and also was the team's fourth-leading receiver to earn an honorable mention All-Big Ten nod from the coaches -- his fourth All-Big Ten honor in his career.
In 2009, McCall took advantage of All-Big Ten quarterback Mike Kafka's abilities to turn his offense in the Big Ten's top passing attack, ranking 13th in the country with 286.5 yards through the air per game. Kafka was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Philadelphia Eagles after leading the conference in total offense (286.5 ypg), passing yardage (263.8 ypg), completion percentage (64.8), completions per game (24.5) and fewest interceptions thrown (2.44 percent) as a senior.
McCall's offense was astounding in the season-ending Outback Bowl, gaining 625 total yards while contributing to 21 broken Outback Bowl records and an additional 11 tied during a dramatic 38-35 overtime loss for the Wildcats. Kafka's 532 yards through the air were a school record, while his 47 completions and 78 passing attempts were NCAA bowl records. Kafka's 98 offensive plays (78 pass attempts, 20 rushes) and the Wildcats' 115 total offensive plays were both NCAA bowl and NCAA FBS records.
In 2010, for the second-straight year, McCall coached Northwestern's starting quarterback to All-Big Ten honors. Dan Persa was the coaches choice as the conference's top QB while the media tabbed him as a second-team honoree after the junior completed a Big Ten-record 73.5 percent of his passes for 2,581 yards and 15 touchdowns against just four interceptions. Persa also ran for 519 yards and nine more scores. The Wildcats ranked third in the Big Ten in passing offense with 242.6 yards per game, compiling a 7-3 record after a win over then-No. 13 Iowa on Nov. 13. Persa's season came to an end on the winning touchdown pass of that game after he ruptured his achilles tendon.
After two productive years of rotating QBs in 2011 and 2012, McCall again allowed Colter and Siemian to share snaps in 2013. Siemian turned in several high-octane performances, including in the final game vs. Illinois when he racked up 414 yards -- the 10th-best single-game total in NU history -- and four touchdown passes. Although shortened because of injury, Colter's production in his final year left him as a 2,000-yard passer and rusher for his career, departing with a career passer efficiency rating of 139.0.
McCall spent the 2007 season as the offensive coordinator at Bowling Green State University, directing the Falcons' spread offense, which averaged over 400 yards per game (402.5 ypg). Prior to '07, McCall spent four years as BGSU's quarterbacks coach, and mentored All-Americans Josh Harris (2003) and Omar Jacobs (2004).
At Bowling Green, McCall played a pivotal role in the development of Harris and Jacobs, arguably two of the top quarterbacks that BGSU and the Mid-American Conference have produced. In 2004, Jacobs had the best year ever for a Falcon signal caller, setting an NCAA record by throwing an NCAA-best and MAC-record 41 TD passes with just four interceptions, the best TD/interception ratio in the history of college football.
Jacobs, who declared early for the NFL Draft, also was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year while completing 309-of-462 passes for 4,002 yards. He also led the nation in points responsible for at 22.5 per game and was second in the nation in passing (333.5 ypg) and total offense (358.5). In 2005, Jacobs led the MAC in total offense (294.7 ypg) and was second in TD passes with 26.
Harris, who quarterbacked the Falcons in the 2003 Motor City Bowl against Northwestern, completed 325-of-494 passes (65.8 percent) for a then-school-record 3,813 yards and 27 TD's. He also had 830 yards rushing and ranked third nationally in total offense (331.1 ypg).
McCall began coaching in 1979 at his alma mater, Southern Colorado, as the quarterbacks and running backs coach. He then spent five seasons (1983-87) as the running backs/tight ends coach and special teams coordinator at Idaho State. From there, he joined Oregon State (1988-90) as the Beavers' wide receivers and tight ends coach.
After a successful 10-year stint (1991-2000) as the head coach at Douglas County and J.K. Mullen high schools in Colorado, McCall spent two seasons (2001-02) as the quarterbacks/running backs coach at Wyoming before moving to Bowling Green. At Mullen High School, he led the football program to a 68-17 record and a state championship in 1998, which earned him Denver Post Coach of the Year honors.
Among the more notable players McCall has coached is former Idaho State running back Merril Hoge. Hoge went on to star for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the NFL from 1987-93 and is currently an NFL analyst for ESPN.
Prior to starting his coaching career, McCall was a quarterback at Southern Colorado in Pueblo, Colo., from 1975-78 where he was a two-time All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference performer and lettered in basketball. He was invited to participate in the training camp of the NFL's Detroit Lions following his college playing career.
He and his wife, JoAnne, have two daughters, Ashley and Brittany.
Brittany, Mick, JoAnne and Ashley McCall (photographed at Northwestern's "North" Beach")