David Elson is no stranger to the Missouri Valley Football Conference, having served as the head coach at Western Kentucky for seven seasons from 2003 to 2009. He helped lead the Hilltoppers through their transition from the FCS to the FBS. Prior to his head coaching tenure, he was the defensive coordinator at WKU under Jack Harbaugh and helped the team win the 2002 I-AA national championship.
Among the players Elson mentored while at Western was wide receiver Curtis Hamilton, who played in the NFL for the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, and cornerback Joseph Jefferson, who played for the Indianapolis Colts.
Elson became the youngest Division I head coach when he was tapped to lead WKU before the 2003 season. He made the I-AA playoffs in both 2003 and 2004. After losing 25 seniors from his 2003 team, Elson guided the 2004 Hilltoppers to a 9-4 record and a 6-1 mark in the Gateway. That team made a quarterfinal appearance in the FCS Playoffs, and Elson was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson National Coach of the Year Award. His 2005 team reached a No. 1 national ranking twice during the year, and his 2003 and 2004 teams both finished the season ranked in the top-15 nationally. Nine of his players earned All-America accolades.
Elson is also familiar with Southern Illinois, having spent two years in Carbondale as SIU's graduate assistant in 1994 and 1995.
Prior to becoming Southern's secondary coach in 2014, Elson served two years as defensive coordinator at New Mexico State. He spent the 2010 season on the Indiana University coaching staff as defensive quality control coach before his time at New Mexico State.
A 1994 graduate of Butler, Elson was a three-year letter winner and started at strong safety his final two seasons. The Bulldogs captured the conference championship in both his sophomore and junior years.
A native of Indianapolis, Elson and his wife Kathy have three daughters, Lauren, Jessica and Maggie.