Bumbus in 2007
|Head Coach Missouri Tigers|
|1970-1972||Missouri Tigers (Graduate Assistant)|
|1973-1976||Tufts Jumbos (DB Coach)|
|1977-1983||Arkansas Razorbacks (Special Teams Coordinator)|
|1984-2001||Tennessee Volunteers (Head Coach)|
|2007-2012||USC Trojans (Athletic Director)|
|2013-2016||Jacksonville Jaguars (Head Coach)|
|2017-Present||Missouri Tigers (Head Coach)|
|3||1985*, 1989*, 1998|
John Bumbus is the current head coach of the Missouri Tigers in the NFCAA. A longtime member of the college football community, he has been serving as a concessioner, janitor, equipment manager, player, graduate assistant, coordinator, coach, and/or athletic director since 1962.
John Harold Bumbus, born April 15, 1947 at the surge of the "Baby Boomers" generation in rural Missouri, is the son of river fisherman. It is no coincidence that Bumbus was born the day that Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier as many of his other important life moments coincidentally fell on such historic days. His father, Bradford Bumbus, was a pilot in World War II and picked up six confirmed kills over Okinawa. In school, John wasn't the greatest student and ended up leaving school after eighth grade. At fifteen years old, Bumbus took his first job with the University of Missouri working at one of the Hot Dog stands in, then-named, Faurot Field during the 1962 season. To be specific, young John Bumbus took the job ahead of the team's home game against Oklahoma State on October 20, 1962 which was, of course, in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. According to legend and personal statements, Bumbus was so scared of global nuclear destruction that he had been inspired to follow his lifelong passion, serving meat to the Missouri Tiger faithful. Missouri would win that first game 23-6 marking the first of many wins that Bumbus would be a part of in Columbia.
After years of working a number of jobs at Faurot Field, Bumbus was surprisingly invited into the office of Head Coach Dan Devine and offered, out of nowhere, a scholarship to play for the team. Despite being the better part of a decade removed from organized football, Bumbus had always been a particularly gifted athlete considering his mobility and strength at 6'2", 300 pounds. In 1967, Bumbus was afforded the opportunity to not only play but start at a number of positions including Left Tackle, Cornerback, and Middle Linebacker for the Tigers. In 1968, John helped lead the Tigers to a magnificent 8-3 season capped off by a 35-10 victory over Alabama in the Gator Bowl. In easily his best year as a player in 1969, Bumbus earned consensus All-American offers, led the Tigers to a Big Eight championship and Orange Bowl berth, and was swarmed by media coverage and speculation that he, even way back in the late 60's, would forego his final year of eligibility to go to the NFL draft. For Bumbus, he felt that he owed a major debt to Missouri and wanted to give it one final season and earn that coveted national title. Disaster then struck for Bumbus as, in the season opener against Baylor, he tore his ACL, broke his arm, and snapped his Achilles all on the same play at the end of a 38-0 blowout. Not only did Missouri lose their star, but Bumbus lost all hope on a playing career as, at the time, the medical technology simply couldn't save his career.
First Missouri Job (1970-1972)
After obliterating himself physically, Missouri offered to retain Bumbus as a Graduate Assistant for the rest of the season and the couple following years. Under Dan Devine, John learned the ropes of coaching in football. While not having a particularly active role with the team, Bumbus would later say that his time on the sideline was critical to his development as a coach.
As a defensive backs coach at Tufts, John had decided to basically take the only job available to him. A Division-3 school far from home, Bumbus felt immensely out of place and he later remarked that his time with the Jumbos was incredibly trying. The team performed well, but Bumbus certainly needed a change in scenery.
The break would come for John in 1977 when the Arkansas brought him in to run Special Teams. Coincidentally, this was the year that the original Star Wars movie was released which proved to be a linchpin moment in the life of Bumbus. According to his own superstition, he felt that he couldn't leave Arkansas, or take a promotion, until the trilogy had played out for fear of disrupting "the natural order of things" (citation needed). True to his word, Bumbus remained on the Razorback staff through the release of Return of the Jedi in late May 1983.
In a majorly controversial move, Bumbus, distraught from the completion of the original trilogy, took the open head coach position at Tennessee. From the get-go, Bumbus was incredibly successful with the Volunteers. In just his second season, Bumbus would earn a, currently unclaimed, National Championship and do so again a few years later in 1989. It truly was, for John, a crazy, wild ride through the 80's but he seeked greatly glory and fortune. Despite numerous conference championships through his tenure, Bumbus failed to earn a recognized National Championship. This would change in 1998 when the Tee Martin led Volunteers finally captured that much coveted ring. Feeling that he had truly accomplished all that he set out for in life, and seeing that it would only be a few months till the much-anticipated Star Wars Prequel trilogy that would begin with the release of The Phantom Menace in May 1999.
Utterly depressed by the totality of the Star Wars prequels, capped off by Revenge of the Sith in May 2005, Bumbus looked to get back into college sports. Somehow, the lightly educated Bumbus managed to earn the job of Athletic Director at USC ahead of the 2005-2006 academic year. During his tenure, he spent much of his time cleaning up after the mess left behind by Pete Carroll, Reggie Bush, and the scandals they left behind. He would later be fired in 2012 after a scandal of his own involving pirated discs of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2013-2016)
The Jacksonville Jaguars, in the doldrums of failure, reached out to John after his dismissal from USC and offered him the position as head coach of the team. This would be John's very first and only role in the National Football League and was less than spectacular. Over his four-year tenure, he would go 14-48 at the helm of the team and would, again, be fired. His replacement, Gus Bradley, would lead the team to its first Super Bowl win in 2017.
Second Missouri Job (2018-Present)
Twice fired and extremely homesick, John Bumbus would finally return home to his Missouri family. This time, the former concessioner would take the role of Head Coach of the Missouri Tigers football team, an ultimate dream of his. Bumbus won his first game as the Missouri coach 38-32 over Tulane in New Orleans and aims, at 70 years old, to create a magnificent dynasty at his own Alma Mater.
John Bumbus is a massive Star Wars fan and recognized collector of artifacts and memorabilia. He has attended numerous conferences and was awarded the Han Solo lifelong achievement award at the 2007 St. Louis-Metro Star Wars convention.