Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Michael Smith Joins Football Staff
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 08, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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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 Kansas State. He’s fully aware of what we’re doing on offense at Arizona and he’s committed to helping this program meet the expectations that we all have for it. I really believe he’s an outstanding addition to our coaching staff.”


            “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 Arizona.”


            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 Kansas State under former head coach Bill Snyder, including four years on the same staff as Mike Stoops. While with the Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan., Smith’s backs scored 284 rushing touchdowns, including a school record 53 in 2002 alone, and saw his backs go over 1,000 yards in four of his final five seasons.


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 Kansas State, graduated from the university in 1995 with a degree in social sciences.


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. New Mexico (1990), 174 yards vs. Washington (1991) and 172 vs. Nebraska (1991). Smith also owned three of the top five reception games in school history, including 13 catches for 166 yards vs. Missouri in 1989. He led the Big Eight as a sophomore in 1989 and was seventh in the nation with 70 catches for 816 yards. In 1990, he had 46 receptions for 796 yards in 1990 and tallied 55 for 768 in 1991.


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.

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