Mules Football Camps

Head Coach Jim Svoboda


Entering his eighth season as head coach in 2017, Jim Svoboda has led the Mules to a 56-25 overall mark, including 49-21 in MIAA play. He has led the Mules to four postseason appearances and UCM had the second most wins in a two-year period during his first two seasons in Warrensburg. He also has the highest winning percentage of any Mules coach with at least four years at the helm.

Last season, he led the Mules back to the NCAA-II Playoffs for the second time in his tenure, the third time in school history and the first time since 2010. They finished 9-3 overall after going 9-2 in MIAA play, finishing third in the league standings. The Mules had the nation’s ninth-ranked passing offense and were 19th in Division II in total offense in 2016. Sixteen Mules combined to win 18 All-MIAA honors, including Jaylen Zachery being named the MIAA Special Teams Player of thre Year. Six players were named to various All-Region teams and three players; Zachery, Garrett Fugate and Derrick Puni earned All-America honors.

In 2015, Svoboda led the Mules to an 8-3 overall and conference mark. The Mules finished tied for third in the MIAA standings, but just missed out on a postseason berth. The Mules set the school record for total offense in a single-game with 705 yards in the 54-10 win over Missouri Southern. The Mules set or tied three more school records in 2015 and 17 players combined to earn 18 All-MIAA honors. Six players earned All-Region accolades and three players earned All-America honors.

The 2014 season saw the Mules go 8-4 overall and 7-4 in MIAA play. The Mules made their third postseason appearance under Svoboda with a berth in the Live United Texarkana Bowl, where UCM beat Southeastern Oklahoma State 48-21. The Mules tied or set new school records in 13 offensive categories, including two career records. The Mules had the No. 1 ranked scoring offense in the MIAA and LaVance Taylor led the conference in rushing and led the nation in all-purpose yards. The 8-4 record secured the program’s eighth straight winning season.

In 2013, he led the Mules to a 6-4 overall mark for the second straight season, including a four-game winning streak to end the year. It was the first four-game winning streak to close out a season since 1988.

In 2012, he led the Mules to a 6-4 mark, including an upset win over No. 3 Northwest Missouri to break a nine-game losing streak in the series. The Mules missed out on the postseason for the first time during Svoboda’s tenure.

In 2011, the Mules had to replace four departed All-Americans and the Harlon
Hill winner, but that didn’t stop UCM from still putting up big numbers. The Mules ranked sixth in NCAA-II in passing offense and finished with an 8-4 overall record and received a berth to play in the Kanza Bowl. Ten Mules earned all-MIAA honors with three players receiving All-American accolades.

Svoboda’s first year proved to be the best of any coach in school history, helping the Mules to a school record 11-3 mark, and an 8-1 mark in the MIAA to finish second. He also led UCM to its second ever NCAA Playoff appearance, as well as the first home playoff game and first playoff win in school history as the Mules advanced to the NCAA-II National Quarterfinals. The offense was equally as good, breaking every school passing record, and boasting four first-team All-MIAA and All-American players, including the MIAA Player of the Year, South Central Region Player of the Year and Harlon Hill Award winner, quarterback Eric Czerniewski. The 2010 Mules also became the first team in NCAA-II history to have a 5,000-yard passer and a 1,000-yard rusher in the same season.

During Svoboda’s time in Warrensburg, the Mules have broken 83 school offensive records and 21 conference offensive records. He has coached 17 All-Americans and 101 All-MIAA players, including 20 first team selections. Four Mules have earned Academic All-American honors and 198 players have been named to the conference’s Academic Honor Roll.

Svoboda has experienced success at every level, winning national championships at the Division II and NAIA level as an assistant coach, as well as three bowl game appearances at the FBS Division I level. He boasts a combined 238-97 record as both a head and assistant coach.

Svoboda came to UCM after three years as assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach at Division I-FCS member Montana State, and helped the Bobcats to winning seasons each year there, as well as a top 25 final national ranking in 2009.

He has also coached and recruited many great players during his career, including 41 All-Americans, two National Players of the Year, 19 NFL draft picks and signees, and numerous record-breaking quarterbacks.

Svoboda served as UCLA’s quarterbacks coach from 2004-06, helping lead the Bruins to three bowl games and only their seventh 10-win season ever in that span. He served as the program’s offensive coordinator in 2006. UCLA won the 2005 Sun Bowl and upset second-ranked cross-town rival USC in 2006. For his efforts, he was a finalist for the 2005 Broyles Award, presented to the nation’s top assistant coach at the Division I-FBS level. He coached UCLA quarterback Drew Olson for two seasons, helping him set numerous school passing records, ranking second in the nation in touchdown passes, fifth in pass efficiency, and eighth in the 2005 Heisman voting.

Prior to his time at UCLA, he was at MIAA rival Northwest Missouri State for 10 seasons as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach (1994-2003). He helped the Bearcats to back-to-back Division II National Championships in 1998 and 1999 while winning five consecutive MIAA titles and winning 41 MIAA games in a row. In a six-year span there, his prolific offenses averaged more than 450 yards and 40 points a game, leading the nation in scoring in both 1998 and 2000. His teams broke more than 70 team, MIAA, and NCAA offensive records, as well as a national mark of 15 wins in one season. He also earned American Football Coaches Magazine Offensive Coordinator of the Year honors in 1998.

Svoboda spent seven years as the head coach at NAIA Nebraska Wesleyan. He went there in 1986 as the running backs coach before being named head coach the following season. As the head man from 1987-93, he led Nebraska Wesleyan to a 52-19 overall record, three conference titles, and three national playoff appearances. Svoboda was the first coach in school and conference history to win an NAIA playoff game. NWU was ranked in 52 of a possible 55 weeks during his seven year tenure, and he was named NIAC Coach of the Year three times. Nebraska Wesleyan has made five total playoff appearances in school history, three of them under Svoboda. He was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in the summer of 2013.

A 1983 graduate of Northwestern College in Iowa, Svoboda began his coaching career at his alma mater that fall, winning a national championship at 14-0 as the running backs coach. He then moved to Dana College in Nebraska as offensive line and strength coach in 1984. He earned his master’s degree from Eastern New Mexico in 1986, serving as the running backs coach there in 1985 and helping them to a runner-up finish in the Lone Star Conference.

The Denison, Iowa native and his wife, Susan, reside in Warrensburg.

Jim Svoboda Year-by-Year
  Overall   Conf.  
Year School W L   W L Finish
1987 Nebraska Wesleyan 6 4   3 2 2nd
1988 Nebraska Wesleyan 8 2 ! 5 0 1st
1989 Nebraska Wesleyan 10 2 ! 5 0 1st
1990 Nebraska Wesleyan 7 2   4 1 T-1st
1991 Nebraska Wesleyan 8 3 ! 4 1 2nd
1992 Nebraska Wesleyan 6 3   4 2 3rd
1993 Nebraska Wesleyan 7 3   4 2 3rd
  Nebraska Wesleyan Totals - 7 years 52 19   29 8  
2010 Central Missouri 11 3 * 8 1 2nd
2011 Central Missouri 8 4 $ 6 3 5th
2012 Central Missouri 6 4   6 4 7th
2013 Central Missouri 6 4   5 4 7th
2014 Central Missouri 8 4 ^ 7 4 T-4th
2015 Central Missouri 8 3   8 3 T-3rd
2016 Central Missouri 9 3 * 9 2 3rd
2017 Central Missouri 9 3 & 8 3 3rd
  Central Missouri Totals - 7 years 65 28   57 24  
  Career Totals - 14 years 117 47   86 32  

! - NAIA Playoffs
* - NCAA-II Playoffs
$ - Kanza Bowl
^ - Texarkana Bowl
& - Mineral Water Bowl