AJ Steward Tabbed As Oregon State’s Running Backs Coach
CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State head coach Jonathan Smith announced Monday that he has tabbed nine-year coaching veteran AJ Steward as the team's running backs coach.
The appointment is contingent on the completion of all university hiring processes.
"I'm excited to have AJ join the Oregon State family," Smith said. "He's a veteran coach with a great reputation for developing running backs through his previous stops at Rice, BYU and Arizona. He knows the Pac-12 well and is a great addition to our coaching staff."
"I'd like to thank Coach Smith for this opportunity," Steward said. "Oregon State has an incredible tradition of running back success and I'm excited to be a part of that. I'm looking forward to getting to Corvallis to work with a talented group of running backs in an exciting offense led by Coach (Brian) Lindgren."
Steward comes to Corvallis after one season in the same position at Arizona, and two seasons at BYU, from 2018-19. The St. Louis, Mo., native opened his coaching career at Rice from 2012-17, where he spent the last four years as running backs coach after serving as a graduate assistant the first two seasons.
While at Rice, Steward mentored running backs Darik Dillard and Jowan Davis, who combined for 4,226 yards and 36 touchdowns in their Owl careers. They rank seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Rice record books.
In 2015, Steward had four running backs tally at least 100 yard rushing effort, a first in school history. Two of those backs, Samuel Stewart and Austin Walter, were named to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team.
Rice appeared in the 2012 Armed Forces Bowl, 2013 Liberty Bowl and 2014 Hawai'i Bowl during Steward's tenure in Houston.
Steward moved to BYU for the 2018-19 seasons; the Cougars totaled 52 rushing touchdowns in his two seasons in Provo. The Cougars averaged just under 160 rushing yards per game in each of his two years.
The Cougars played in the 2019 SoFi Hawai'i Bowl and 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Arizona, meanwhile, rushed for just over 156 yards per game in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. The Wildcats, who played in just five games, were led by Gary Brightwell, who ranked in the top 10 in the Pac-12 Conference with 390 yards.
Steward played four seasons at Kansas, appearing in 37 games for the Jayhawks. He was originally recruited as a quarterback before switching to wide receiver and then tight end. He was Kansas' Scout Team Player of the Year in 2007; the Jayhawks played in the 2008 Orange Bowl.
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