TUCSON ?- Former Rice running backs coach Michael Smith has been hired in the same capacity at Arizona, head coach Mike Stoops announced on Wednesday.
“Michael’s track record with running backs is phenomenal,” said Stoops. “He did a great job last season with the rushing game in Rice’s breakout year and also during his time at
“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with Coach (Mike) Stoops again and his staff,” said Smith. “I look forward to coaching the players that are already here and the ones we’re going to bring in. I hope we can win a bunch of games at
Smith spent the 2006 season helping Rice to a 7-6 record and advance to its first bowl game in 45 seasons. The Owls averaged 131 yards rushing per game last year and scored 15 touchdowns on the ground. Under Smith’s guidance, senior Quinton Smith, who gained 1,096 yards rushing, became just the sixth Rice running back to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a single season. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns for the Owls last season.
Prior to his one season at Rice, Michael Smith spent nine years as the running backs coach and two as a graduate assistant at
Four of Smith’s rushers from K-State went on to professional careers in the National Football League (Rock Cartwright, Joe Hall, Josh Scobey and Darren Sproles), and he mentored the top three rushers in school history, including all-time leader Sproles.
From 2001-04 Sproles gained 4,979 yards on 815 career carries. He went over 1,000 yards rushing in three of his four seasons, recorded 24 100-yard games, averaged 6.1 yards per carry and finished with 48 rushing touchdowns during his career. In his junior season of 2003, Sproles finished with a school record 1,986 yards rushing on 306 carries (6.5 yards/carry).
Smith, a four-year letterwinner at wide receiver for
During his playing career, he was known as one the Big Eight Conference's all-time great receivers. He concluded his playing career as the Big Eight's second-leading receiver with 179 receptions, trailing just Oklahoma State All-American Hart Lee Dykes. The total of 179 catches ranked 40th in NCAA history at the time. Smith was named third-team All-America by the Associated Press in 1991 and honorable mention All-America in 1989 by the AP and UPI. Smith was also a two-time All-Big Eight selection (1989 and 1991).
His career total of 2,457 receiving yards was third-best in Big Eight history behind Dykes and 1972 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Rodgers. The total was bolstered by nine 100-yard receiving games, which was a school record at the time.
Smith also posted three of the top four games in K-State history with 179 yards vs.
Smith has two daughters, Kylie and Kenzie.
Additionally, recently hired wide receivers coach Darrell Wyatt has been named the Wildcats’ passing game coordinator and offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh will coordinate the rushing game, Stoop said.