Former Lions running back Kevin Smith takes coaching job back in hometown

SideLion Report

Former Lions running back Kevin Smith is now a coach, and his new job will bring him back to his hometown.

Kevin Smith spent all five seasons of his NFL career with the Detroit Lions, who drafted him in the third round of the 2008 draft out of Central Florida, with a near-1,000-yard season as a rookie. Now in coaching, Smith has been announced as the new running backs coach at the University of Miami.

Smith got into coaching as an intern back at his alma mater in 2015. He moved on to become running backs coach at Florida Atlantic for three years (2017-2019), and he followed Lane Kiffin to Ole Miss as running backs for the last two seasons.

Last season, three Ole Miss running backs ranked in the top-25 in the SEC in rushing, as the Rebels had the conference’s third-best rushing attack.

It’s a homecoming for Kevin Smith

Smith was born in Miami, and he starred a Miami Southridge High School. Hurricanes head coach Mario Cristobal cited those roots, while lauding the 35-year old as a rising coaching star.

From his playing days at Miami Southridge to his record-setting collegiate career to his five years in the NFL, Coach Smith has known nothing but success on the field,” Cristobal said. “In his five years as a college assistant coach, he has already showed an elite ability to prepare running backs for the next level. As one of the top young coaches in the nation, I know Coach Smith will recruit, coach and develop our running back room at a tremendous level and elevate the culture of our program. I’m fired up to add him to our offensive staff.”

Smith spoke about his new opportunity.

Miami has arguably the richest tradition in college football history. It’s an honor to be the running backs coach here,” Smith said. “But with it, there’s also expectations. That’s what my game is built on – it’s built on developing and producing, and I’m ready for the challenge. I’m honored to be here and I think that a part of my job, along with the rest of the coaches on staff, is to take this thing to the next level. You’ll never fill the shoes of the guys who are on the walls here at The U, but you can continue to build on that legacy and do great things for not only the running backs who played here, but everybody from the University of Miami program.”

Injuries shortened Smith’s NFL career. But he set 17 school rushing records at UCF, including FBS single-season records for carries (450) and 100-yard games (13) in 2007. He is getting noticed in the coaching ranks now, and going back to his hometown at “The U.”

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