ROCKFORD, Ill. – The Rockford University athletic department is thrilled to announce the promotion of Offensive Coordinator Calvin Toliver to the position of head football coach effective immediately. Toliver takes over for J.T. Zimmerman who left to pursue other coaching opportunities.
“It is my privilege to announce that Calvin Toliver has been promoted to the position of head football coach at Rockford University,” Director of Athletics Jason Mulligan remarked. “Calvin has proven not only to be an outstanding football coach during his time here at Rockford, but has also shown that he is man of great integrity. He cares deeply about the success of his student-athletes in both their academic and athletic endeavors and is the right person to lead this program into the future. I am extremely excited about the direction of the program going forward under Coach Toliver.”
“It is an honor to be named the head football coach at Rockford University,” Coach Toliver remarked. “Through an integrated approach of principles, processes, preparation and performance, we will establish a thorough system that allows us ample time for innovation in our approach to football, academic success, recruiting and strength and conditioning strategies.”
Since taking over the reigns as Rockford’s offensive coordinator for the 2021 spring season, Toliver has transformed the Regents’ offense into one of the top units not only in the NACC but also in all of NCAA Division III. This past season, Rockford broke or tied 32 offensive school records and is currently ranked in the top 30 in all of NCAA Division III in a combined 19 team or individual categories. The Regents also scored over 30 points in six of their ten games and surpassed the 40-point threshold four times, both of which are firsts for Rockford since joining the NACC in 2008.
Under Toliver’s tutelage, the Regents have seen immense growth at the skill positions, especially at quarterback and wide receiver. In 2021 during his first full season at quarterback, Jaelen Ray broke a dozen school records and is currently in the top ten nationally in five different categories. At the wide receiver position, it was Joey Owens who had a breakout season as a senior under Toliver’s guidance. Owens broke or tied ten school records, a NACC record and is currently ranked in the top four nationally in four categories. Owens was rewarded for his efforts on the field with a First Team All-NACC selection and became Rockford’s first ever offensive skill position player to be named Second Team All-Region by D3football.com.
Prior to joining the Regents coaching staff for the 2019 season, Toliver made multiple coaching stops in the Northeastern portion of the United States. Toliver spent one season as the pass game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Thiel College and two seasons at Cheyney University, serving in the same role there during his second season. Coach Toliver also made coaching stops at Delaware Valley University and Valley Forge Military Academy, where he served in various roles that included pass game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and quality control coach.
Before beginning his coaching career, Toliver played both at the collegiate and professional levels. Toliver was a quarterback and h-back at NCAA Division I (FCS) Delaware State University. He then went on to play quarterback and wide receiver professionally in 2011 for the Wenatchee Venom of the Indoor Football League. “I want to take a moment to thank Jason Mulligan, President Fulcomer and the rest the administration for this opportunity,” Toliver stated. “I am excited about what lies ahead and believe that through the implementation of the processes and programs that we have put in place, we will be able to assist our student-athletes in achieving things beyond their perceived limitations. Rockford University is a special place and I look forward to starting my head coaching career here.”
“I would like to thank Coach Zimmerman for his efforts during his tenure at Rockford University,” Mulligan added. “I wish him and his family all the best in their future endeavors.”
Coach Zimmerman left Rockford after spending seven years as a member of the Rockford University football coaching staff. Zimmerman spent his first four seasons as the team’s defensive coordinator and then spent the last three as the program’s head coach. In his two full seasons and one shortened season as head coach, Rockford had 11 All-NACC selections, 4 NACC Players of the Week, 2 D3football.com Team of the Week honorees and 1 All-Region selection.
The Rockford University football team will open its 2022 season at home on Saturday, September 3 against Beloit College. Kickoff between the Regents and Buccaneers is set for 1 PM at Sam Greeley Field.