Defense wins championships – the saying rang true for the JU football team in 2008, led by defensive coordinator and associate head coach Ron McCrone.
Returning for his third season at JU, McCrone’s defense was one of top-ranked defenses nationally – finishing the year 29th in total defense, fifth in pass efficiency defense and 14th in passing defense.
A veteran of the coaching profession, McCrone brings more than 35 years of experience at the professional, collegiate and high school levels.
His 2008 unit set the tone for the Dolphins’ run to the Pioneer Football League championship, holding seven opponents to 20 points or less. The group also was opportunistic, picking off 16 passes to tie the school record set in 1999 and 2001. The Dolphins also racked up 20 sacks, the most since the 2001 season.
The defense put up points as well. Defensive back Tremaine Mack scored three touchdowns, including a school-record two INT returns, to lead a defensive unit that scored five touchdowns.
Prior to JU, he spent the 2006 as the defensive coordinator at UAB, guiding the Blazers defensive efforts against one of the toughest schedules in the country, giving the team a chance to win in every game.
Prior to his stint with UAB, McCrone spent two years at Southern Mississippi as defensive end coach for the Golden Eagles in 2005 and defensive secondary coach in 2004. In 2005, the Southern Miss defense ranked second in Conference USA in scoring defense. The Golden Eagles finished second in the league in scoring defense and third in pass defense in 2004.
Before his appointment at Southern Miss, he was the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2003 at Southwest Missouri State. While with the Bears, his secondary was ranked No. 1 in the Gateway Conference in pass defense, No. 1 in pass efficiency defense and No. 3 in the nation in pass efficiency defense.
McCrone started his coaching career in 1969, where he was the defensive backs coach at Paxon High School in Jacksonville. In 1970, he took his first head coaching job at Gordon (Ga.) Military College.
Next, McCrone moved on to serve as the defensive ends coach at Florida in 1971-72, the secondary coach at Tampa in 1973 and at Southern Miss in 1974.
From 1975-77 he was the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at UT-Martin. In 1976, the Skyhawks led their conference in total defense and set the NCAA record with four interceptions returned for touchdowns and 269 yards in returns.
He then spent the next four years at three different Southeastern Conference schools from 1978-82. McCrone was the assistant defensive secondary coach at Auburn (1978), before spending two years as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach at Vanderbilt (1979-80) and one year as the linebackers coach at Ole Miss (1981). While at Vanderbilt in 1980, the Commodores set an NCAA record with five interceptions against Memphis.
McCrone coached the defensive secondary at Duke for two years (1982-83) before spending two years as the linebackers and special teams coach with the Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League. The Bandits advanced to the USFL playoffs in 1985.
McCrone spent two years as a head high school coach in the state of Florida, one year at Citrus High School in Inverness during 1987 and at Orange Park High School in 1988. He also had a three-year stint at UTEP as the secondary coach from 1989-91. The 1991 team was first in the Western Athletic Conference in pass defense and second in total defense.
He then moved to UCF from 1992-94 as the defensive coordinator and secondary coach. In 1993, the Golden Knights set a school record with 58 sacks and led all the teams in the state of Florida with 22 interceptions. From 1995-97, McCrone worked at Temple University, serving as the defensive secondary coach the first two years and as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator in 1997. The Owls finished No. 11 in the nation in sacks in 1997 and were third in the Big East Conference in total defense.
McCrone was the defensive coordinator at Alabama State in 1998, where his secondary was first in the SWAC in passing defense and third in total defense. After Alabama State, he spent two years in the Arena Football League 2, the 2000 season as the defensive coordinator of the Tallahassee Thunder and the head coach of the Jacksonville Tomcats in 2001.
A native of Jacksonville, McCrone is a graduate of Florida (1968) with a bachelor’s degree in recreational physical education and health and was a member of the 1967 Orange Bowl team. He and his wife, Mary, have three children, Jeff, the JU defensive backs coach, Kelly and Blair, and several grandchildren.
2007-08 FOOTBALL COACHES