University of Iowa Athletics
Assistant Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers

Seth Wallace

Seth Wallace - Football - University of Iowa Athletics


Seth Wallace was elevated to assistant head football coach at the University of Iowa in January, 2024. He has coached Hawkeye linebackers since 2016 and served as Iowa’s assistant defensive coordinator the past seven seasons.

Wallace was Iowa’s recruiting coordinator in 2014 and 2015, while also coaching cornerbacks and nickelbacks in 2015. He worked with the defensive line in 2014. Wallace previously served as a graduate assistant coach on the Iowa staff for three seasons (2006-08).

Under Wallace’s leadership, Iowa’s linebacking corps has consistently been one of the nation’s best. Over the past eight years, Wallace has coached five linebackers who have garnered All-America recognition. An Iowa linebacker has led the Big Ten in total tackles each of the past three seasons. Wallace has mentored 11 linebackers to all-conference status and eight players have gone on to play in the National Football League.

In 2023, the Hawkeyes won 10 games, including their final four, to capture the Big Ten West Division for the second time in three years. Iowa advanced to another January bowl game (Citrus Bowl) and finished the season ranked No. 24. The Hawkeyes have been ranked in the final AP Top 25 five of the last six seasons. Linebacker Jay Higgins tied the school record for most tackles in a season, was a Butkus Award semifinalist, and was honored as a first-team All-American.

Iowa’s defense led the way in 2022, including posting just the second shutout in Iowa’s 35 bowl games. The defense led the nation in with seven defensive touchdowns, including two interception return scores in the bowl win. Iowa’s defense was in the top 12 in the nation in scoring defense (second), total defense (second), pass efficiency defense (fourth), passing yards per game (sixth), first down defense (10th), third down defense (11th) and rushing defense (12th).

Linebacker Jack Campbell earned unanimous consensus All-America honors, while earning the Butkus Award and the William V. Campbell Trophy. He is the first Hawkeye player to win each of the awards. He was the Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year. Linebacker Seth Benson also earned second-team All-Big Ten accolades.

Campbell was selected in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, taken by the Detroit Lions as the 18th player selected. Benson signed a free agent contract with Denver immediately following the draft.

Iowa’s streak of 11 straight bowl invitations is the longest in school history and its streak of 11 straight winning seasons ranks seventh best among power conferences. The Hawkeyes have earned 25 conference victories between 2020-23, matching its highest four-year conference win total in program history (1982-85 and 2002-05).

The Hawkeyes won 10 games in 2021, winning the Big Ten West Division title and advancing to the conference championship game. Iowa concluded the season with an appearance in the Citrus Bowl and was ranked 23rd in the final national rankings.

Iowa’s defense set a school record and led the nation with 25 interceptions in 2021. The defense ranked among national leaders in takeaways (30, third), defensive touchdowns scored (four, seventh), pass efficiency defense (110.5, sixth), turnover margin (0.8, 11th), rushing defense (114.4, 13th), scoring defense (19.2, 13th) and total defense (328.8, 18th).

Campbell led the Hawkeye defense and ranked first in the nation with 143 tackles. Campbell earned first-team All-Big Ten and earned second-team All-America honors from two media outlets. He scored two of Iowa’s four defensive touchdowns in 2021, including a fumble return and an interception return. Benson was second on the team with 105 tackles while earning third-team all-conference honors.

Following back-to-back narrow losses to open the 2020 season, Iowa won its final six games, all in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes allowed just seven points in three of the six wins. The winning streak included road wins at Minnesota, Penn State and Illinois, and trophy game victories over Minnesota, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes were ranked 15th in the nation in the final CFP rankings and Coaches Poll, and 16th by the AP. The Hawkeyes were selected to compete in the 2020 Music City Bowl, but that event was canceled.

Iowa’s defense in 2020 led the nation in allowing opponents just 4.3 yards per play. The Hawkeyes ranked among the national leaders in several additional categories, including scoring (16.0, 7th), pass efficiency defense (110.1, 9th), rushing defense (107.6, 11th), total defense (313.8, 12th), red zone defense (.727, 12th) and interceptions (11, 19th).

Iowa won 47 games from 2015-19, the highest total in school history over any five-year period, and a total that ranked ninth nationally. Iowa won its final four games in 2019 and ranked 15th in the final Associated Press and coaches polls.

Senior linebacker Nick Niemann led the Hawkeyes in tackles and ranked fourth in the Big Ten in tackles per game (9.6) in 2020. Niemann earned third-team all-conference honors while Benson earned honorable mention recognition. Niemann was selected by the Los Angeles Chargers in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, while Barrington Wade signed a free agent contract (Baltimore) immediately following the draft.

The Hawkeyes concluded the 2019 campaign with a 10-3 record following a 49-24 rout over No. 22 USC in the Holiday Bowl. The three losses were all to ranked opponents by a combined 14 points. Iowa was 4-1 in trophy games for the third straight season.

The 2019 Hawkeye defense ranked among the top 17 in the nation in scoring defense (5th, 14.0), first downs allowed (9th, 16.6), total defense (12th, 308.2), rushing defense (14th, 112.5), turnover margin (14th, 0.7) and pass efficiency defense (17th, 116.0). Iowa tied for second in the nation in interceptions (20) in 2018 after leading the nation in 2017 with 21. Iowa’s 64 thefts over the past four seasons tie for the most in the nation.

Senior linebacker Kristian Welch led the Iowa defense in 2019, recording 87 tackled to lead the team despite missing three full games. Welch earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors. He signed a free agent contract with Baltimore immediately following the 2020 NFL Draft and was with the Ravens throughout the season.

Iowa completed 2018 with nine wins and a final AP ranking of No. 25. The Hawkeyes earned a 27-22 Outback Bowl win over No. 18 Mississippi State to close the season with three straight wins. The four losses came by a total of 23 points and all were decided in the final minutes of play. Iowa tied for second in the Big Ten West Division.

Iowa’s linebackers were an inexperienced crew in 2018 but contributed greatly to Iowa’s high national ranking in several team categories. Amani Hooker, splitting time between safety and outside linebacker, earned All-America recognition while being named the Tatum-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year. Hooker declared for the NFL following his junior season and was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft by Tennessee.

The Hawkeye defense led the nation with 21 interceptions in 2017, led by defensive back Josh Jackson, who led the nation individually with eight interceptions to match Iowa’s single-season record. Jackson and linebacker Josey Jewell each earned unanimous consensus All-America honors. The Hawkeyes ranked 17th in the nation in scoring defense (19.9), allowing less than 20 points per game for the third consecutive season. Iowa matched a school record with four interception return touchdowns.

Jewell led the Big Ten in tackles for the second time in three seasons (he was second as a junior) and ranked fourth in the nation in tackles per game (11.3). He earned unanimous consensus All-America honors and was named the Big Ten Conference linebacker and defensive Player of the Year. Jewell earned the Lott IMPACT Trophy and the Jack Lambert Trophy and was a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy.

Jewell became the third Hawkeye selected in the 2018 NFL Draft when he was selected in the fourth round by the Denver Broncos. Ben Niemann, also a three-year starter for the Hawkeyes, was a key defensive contributor for the Kansas City Chiefs for four seasons before signing with Arizona for 2022.

Jewell led the Iowa defense in 2016, ranking second in the conference in tackles while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second consecutive season. The Hawkeyes ranked 13th in the nation in scoring defense and red zone defense, 19th in pass efficiency defense and 23rd in total defense.

The Hawkeyes posted a perfect 12-0 regular season record in 2015, winning the Big Ten West Division. Iowa participated in the 2016 Rose Bowl Game and the 2015 Big Ten Championship and ended the season in the top 10 in the final national rankings.

Iowa ranked first in the Big Ten and 10th in the nation in pass interceptions in 2015, while also ranking in the top 20 nationally in pass break-ups, turnover margin, turnovers gained, and rushing defense. Seven defensive players earned All-Big Ten recognition.

In 2014, Wallace assisted with an Iowa defense that ranked seventh in the nation in pass defense and 22nd in total defense. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked second in the nation in fewest penalties and penalty yards. Senior tackles Carl Davis and Louis Trinca-Pasat, along with junior end Drew Ott, were each named second-team All-Big Ten.

Iowa’s most recent bowl game invitations include the 2024 Citrus Bowl, 2022 Music City Bowl, 2022 Citrus Bowl, 2020 Music City Bowl, 2019 Holiday Bowl, 2019 Outback Bowl, 2017 Outback Bowl, 2017 Pinstripe Bowl, 2016 Rose Bowl Game, 2015 TaxSlayer Bowl and 2014 Outback Bowl.

Iowa has appeared in 13 January bowl games since 2001 and has recorded January bowl wins over Florida (2004 Outback), Louisiana State (2005 Citrus), South Carolina (2009 Outback), Georgia Tech (2010 Orange) and Mississippi State (2019 Outback).

Iowa has won 185 games over the past 22 seasons, including 115 Big Ten games. Along with the 2023, 2021 and 2015 division titles, the Hawkeyes earned a share of the Big Ten title in both 2002 and 2004 and tied for second in 2009. Iowa has finished in the Big Ten’s first division in 21 of the past 23 years.

Wallace returned to the Iowa staff from Valdosta State University, where he served as defensive coordinator from 2010-13. Wallace coached the Valdosta State defensive line in 2013 and the defensive backs from 2009-2012. He joined the Valdosta State staff after his three-year stint with the Iowa program.

In his 22 seasons coaching on the collegiate level, Wallace has served as both offensive and defensive coordinator, coached defensive backs, defensive line, and wide receivers, along with holding special teams duties in 13 seasons.

Iowa won the Outback Bowl following the 2008 season and also played in the 2006 Alamo Bowl. Valdosta State appeared in the NCAA Division II playoffs in 2010 and won the national title in 2012, while Coe College advanced to the Division III quarterfinals in 2002. He has coached 14 players who have earned All-America recognition and 18 players who have gone on to play professional football.

Wallace helped Valdosta State win the 2012 NCAA Division II national title with a 12-2 overall record. Valdosta State won the 2010 Gulf South Conference title and advanced to the NCAA playoffs. Since 2010, Valdosta State has ranked in the top 25 percent nationally in several defensive categories, including scoring defense, pass efficiency defense, red-zone defense, interceptions and turnovers gained.

In both 2010 and 2011, Valdosta State ranked in the top three in the conference in seven defensive categories. The Valdosta State defense scored seven touchdowns and recorded three safeties. Valdosta State special teams led the league in kickoff coverage in 2010 and ranked second in 2011.

During his previous time on the Iowa coaching staff, Wallace worked with the Iowa defense, primarily the defensive secondary. The Hawkeyes posted a 9-4 record in 2008, including a win over South Carolina in the 2009 Outback Bowl. Iowa ranked fourth in the nation while tying a school record with 23 interceptions in 2008. Iowa led the Big Ten and ranked fifth nationally in pass efficiency defense (98.3) and scoring defense (13.0). Iowa also led the Big Ten in fewest touchdowns allowed, turnovers gained, pass efficiency defense and punt return defense.

Wallace also gained college coaching experience at Lake Forest College (2003-05) in Lake Forest, Illinois, and Coe College (2001-02) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He was offensive coordinator at Lake Forest in 2004 and 2005 as the team set school records for passing offense and total offense.

Lake Forest posted an 8-2 record in 2004 after a 7-3 mark the previous season. Wallace was defensive secondary coach and special teams coordinator in 2003 as Lake Forest led the conference in scoring defense, pass defense and total defense.

Wallace began his coaching career at Coe College in 2001, serving as wide receivers and tight ends coach, while assisting with special teams for two seasons. Coe posted a 10-2 record in 2002, winning the Iowa Conference title while ranking 14th nationally in Division III. The 10 wins set a school record for single season victories as Coe ranked first in the league in total offense in 2002 and first in passing offense in 2001. The Kohawks ranked first in the league and second in the nation in kickoff returns in 2001 and first and 11th in that category, respectively, the following season.

Wallace attended Grinnell High School in Grinnell, Iowa, and was a four-year letterman (1997-2000) in football at Coe College. He was a team captain and twice earned all-conference honors as a wide receiver at Coe. He led the league in receiving in 2000 and ranks in the top four at Coe in season and career receiving. Wallace led the nation in punt returns in 1997 and is Coe’s career leader. He earned all-state honors as a prep and competed in the Iowa Shrine Bowl following his senior season.

Wallace earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education from Coe College in 2001 and his master’s degree in sports management from Iowa in 2008.

Wallace was born Jan. 8, 1979, in Danville, Kentucky. He and his wife, Erica, have a son, Landry, and a daughter, Maci.

Wallace’s Coaching Career
School – Position, Years
Iowa – Asst. Head Coach/Asst. Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, 2024-present
Iowa – Assistant Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers, 2017-23
Iowa – Linebackers, 2016
Iowa – Cornerbacks/Nickelbacks, 2015
Iowa – Recruiting Coordinator/Assistant Defensive Line Coach, 2014
Valdosta State – Defensive Coordinator, 2011-13
Valdosta State – Defensive Line, 2013
Valdosta State – Defensive Backs, 2009-12
Iowa – Graduate Assistant, 2006-08
Lake Forest – Offensive Coordinator/Special Teams, 2004-05
Lake Forest – Defensive Backs/Special Teams, 2003
Coe College – Wide Receivers/Tight Ends/Special Teams, 2001-02