Bret Bielema Excited for His Friend Charlie Partridge



BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Atlantic University has named Charlie Partridge as its head football coach. Partridge joins FAU after one season as assistant head coach/defensive line coach at the University of Arkansas and brings 17 seasons of collegiate coaching experience to the Owls program.

A native of Plantation, Fla., Partridge is the fourth head football coach in FAU’s football program’s history. He has coached in nine bowl games and the Division I-AA playoffs during tenures at Drake University, Iowa State University, Eastern Illinois University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Wisconsin.

Partridge was instrumental in recruiting South Florida for the Razorbacks and securing the commitment of SEC Freshman of the Year Razorback running back, Alex Collins.

Earlier this year, Partridge discusses recruiting in his home-area of South Florida.

“Obviously I am born and raised [in South Florida] but have built relationships,” Partridge said. “Fortunately, [head football coach Bret Bielema] lets me go down there and work those relationships. Over time I’ve earned trust and through that trust, which really is what recruiting is at the end of the day comes down to – do they trust what they are telling them is reality. Recruiting is sales. And there’s a time where if you’re coming in there and you’re giving your sales pitch and that’s all you’re about [recruits] don’t know what they are really getting. But if you’ve earned trust over time, it becomes more significant.

“And to represent a school like Arkansas in a conference like the SEC to guys that trust what I am  about as a person, it’s a powerful combination,” he said.

In the end he was able to get the job done.

One of the prized recruits from Florida was Alex Collins, one of the top running back prospects in the country.

“For those of you out there who have met him,” Partridge said of Collins, “he’s an unbelievable young man. He’s extremely intelligent. … We were able to carry over [a good relationship with him] when we came to Arkansas. That change was hard on him. But once we learned about Arkansas and were able to teach him about what this place can provide it was almost like it was supposed to happen and couldn’t be more excited about him being a Razorback.”

“We are proud to welcome home Charlie Partridge,” said Pat Chun, FAU director of athletics. “Coach Partridge embodies the characteristics and qualities we profiled for our head football coach. First and foremost he is an extraordinary leader. His integrity, commitment to student-athlete wellness and development, family values and passion make him the ideal person to lead our football program. Coach Partridge is committed to academic success, our community and building a culture that will service our university well for years to come. We are thankful he and his wife Julie have chosen to be a part of the FAU family.”

Prior to his season at Arkansas, Partridge served for five years at Wisconsin and was part of a coaching staff that led the Badgers to three consecutive Rose Bowl appearances, the first Big Ten Conference team to accomplish that feat in more than 30 years. He was associate head coach and co-defensive coordinator in his final two seasons at Wisconsin after coaching special teams, the defensive line and linebackers at Pittsburgh from 2003-07.

“I’m extremely excited to come back to South Florida and to build upon the program that Howard Schnellenberger started,” said Partridge. “I look forward to this opportunity and to working with the high school coaches and the community leaders as we build FAU football.”

Partridge began his coaching career at his alma mater, Drake, where he played defensive line from 1992-95. While serving as defensive line coach at Eastern Illinois he coached against the Owls during the second year of FAU’s football program.

In addition to Schnellenberger (2001-11), who founded the FAU program and served as its first head coach, Partridge joins Carl Pelini (2012-13) and Brian Wright (2013) as the four coaches who have guided the Owls. FAU finished 6-6 this past season, its first as a member of Conference USA.

Comments on Charlie Partridge from other coaches:

Brett Bielema, Head Coach, University of Arkansas

“I am very excited to see Charlie (Partridge) have the opportunity to return home to lead the Florida Atlantic program. He grew up less than 30 minutes from the campus and has long been regarded as an exceptional recruiter in the state of Florida. I have been impressed working with him for the last six years and it has been evident to me his personality, drive and knowledge of the game would provide him the opportunity to be a head coach. He has a unique ability to relate to all of his student-athletes and maintains relationships with them far after their college careers have ended. I would like to thank Charlie for being a critical part of our coaching staffs at two schools and taking an integral role in developing the foundation for future success for the Razorbacks.  As he takes his championship coaching experiences back to an area he cares greatly about, I wish him and Julie and their daughters Alexa and Kylee nothing but success.”

Barry Alvarez, Former Head Coach and Current Director of Athletics, University of Wisconsin 

“I’m very happy for Charlie (Partridge) and this wonderful opportunity. He’s an excellent football man. He’s a sound coach with a terrific background, having worked with some great football coaches. He has worked his way up through the ranks and really earned this chance. Having grown up in the South Florida area, I know this is a special opportunity for him and something that will help him in recruiting. He did a great job in his time at Wisconsin coaching our defensive line and helping to lead our defense. I think Florida Atlantic made a great hire.”

Dave Wannstedt, Former Head Coach, University of Pittsburgh

“I had the opportunity to work with Charlie (Partridge) at the University of Pittsburgh. He was as fine a recruiter and teacher as anyone on my staff. When I look back at Charlie and you throw in all the things of a head coach, he is a complete package. He will represent the University in all the areas on and off the field with nothing but class and integrity.”

George Smith, Former Head Coach and Current Director of Athletics, St. Thomas Aquinas High School

“Coach (Charlie Partridge) is from the area. I think FAU and Athletics Director Pat Chun has hit a home run with this hire. He knows the south Florida recruiting in and out and knows the area. He is a roll up the sleeves to get it done kind of guy. He will put together a staff that will be able to make this program very special. What the last 36 hours have been like in the tri-county area and the phone calls I have received about him is unmatched.”

Paul Rhoads, Head Coach, Iowa State University

“Charlie Partridge is the ideal hire for FAU, being a hometown product with an extensive background of successful recruiting in South Florida.  His combination of intelligence and being a great motivator will undoubtedly lead to success for the FAU football program.”

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