Tony Alford Named Notre Dame¹s Running Backs Coach
New running backs coach has produced seven 1,000-yard rushers in his
"I¹m very happy to add Tony Alford to our staff," Weis said. "In talking
with several sources at the college and NFL levels for suggestions the first
name that came up was Tony's. He came highly recommended because of his
tremendous reputation as both a running backs coach and as a recruiter and
is a great addition to our program.
"For the past 22 years, Tony has either played running back or coached
running backs and the experience and knowledge gained over that time will
definitely benefit our current and future ball carriers.
"We look forward to a smooth transition and welcome Tony and his family to
the Notre Dame family."
Alford has spent his entire 14-year coaching career with running backs at
five different schools and has produced a 1,000-yard rusher seven times. His
stops include Louisville (2007-08), Iowa State (2002-06 and 1997-2000),
Washington (2001), Kent State (1996) and Mount Union (1995). His assigned
recruiting areas during his coaching career have included California,
Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Texas as well as Arizona, Colorado, Iowa and
"Notre Dame is the epitome of college football," Alford said. "To join a
place with the tradition and history of Notre Dame is very exciting and I'm
grateful to Coach Weis for extending me this tremendous opportunity.
"I have several people in my life that I greatly respect and use as sounding
boards for important life decisions such as changing jobs. When this
position opened, I counseled with those individuals and they were as
enthusiastic about this opportunity as I am. I am very flattered that Coach
Weis considered me for this post and my family and I are thrilled to join
the Notre Dame family."
This past season, one of Alford's pupils, redshirt freshman Victor Anderson,
rushed for 1,047 yards with eight touchdowns and became the first Louisville
running back to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards since 2005. Anderson was
rewarded for his efforts as he was named the BIG EAST Conference Rookie of
the Year and second-team all-BIG EAST. Anderson averaged 5.7 yard per carry
and 87.2 yards per game and was the first Cardinal to earn BIG EAST
Rookie-of-the-Year honors. He was also placed on Sporting News' Freshman
Louisville averaged 164.5 yards rushing in 2008 and scored 18 rushing TDs.
Brock Bolen gained 505 yards and added seven rushing TDs while Bilal Powell
tallied an addition 354 rushing yards with two TDs.
In 2007, Anthony Allen averaged 4.8 yards on 141 carries and Bolen averaged
4.5 yards on 75 attempts for an offense that averaged 137.5 rushing yards
per game. The two running backs combined for 12 rushing touchdowns. The ¹07
Cardinals were led by quarterback Brian Brohm (344.3 passing yards per game)
and that was reflected in the 44/56 run/pass ratio that season.
Alford spent a total of nine years during two stints as the running backs
coach at Iowa State where he developed three of the school's top six career
rushing leaders (the last five years at Iowa State he also held the title of
assistant head coach). Darren Davis, Ennis Haywood and Stevie Hicks combined
to total five 1,000-yard seasons with Alford as their position coach. Four
of the 10 best single-game rushing totals in Cyclone history occurred during
Alford's tenure and Iowa State had a 200-yard rushing effort by one of
Alford's running backs eight times during his nine-year stint in Ames.
Hicks became the third Cyclone rusher under Alford to surpass 1,000 rushing
yards in a season as he led Iowa State with 1,062 yards in 2004. As a team,
the Cyclones averaged 141.8 rushing yards during the '04 campaign that
concluded with an appearance in the Independence Bowl.
Iowa State was one of only three FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) schools
that produced a 1,000-yard rusher annually from 1995-2001. Haywood continued
the tradition in 2000 as he led the Big 12 Conference and ranked 10th
nationally with 1,237 rushing yards. Alford helped make Haywood a first-team
all-Big 12 running back as the Cyclones' rushing attack averaged 209.0 yards
per game and totaled 27 rushing TDs.
When Haywood was sidelined due to injury for a game versus Oklahoma State in
2000, Alford prepared freshman Michael Wagner and helped him rush for a
freshman school-record 170 yards and two TDs against the Cowboys. Alford
also assisted the Cyclones in making school history by finishing their 9-3
season with the school's first bowl victory at the 2000 Insight.com Bowl
(37-20 over Pittsburgh).
During Alford's initial four years in Ames (1997-2000), Iowa State improved
from 103rd to 17th nationally in rushing. A driving force behind that was
Alford's coaching of Davis. Under Alford's guidance, Davis produced three
consecutive seasons over 1,000 yards en route to becoming the second-most
prolific rusher in school history. Davis gained 1,005 yards as a sophomore
in 1997, 1,116 yards in 1998 and ranked ninth in the nation in 1999 with a
Big 12-best 1,388 rushing yards.
Davis recorded the fourth-most rushing yards in a season by an Iowa State
running back in 1999 and helped the Cyclones average 200.5 rushing yards per
game. His 14 rushing TDs and 4.8 yards-per-carry average helped him earn
first-team all-Big 12 accolades. He played his final three years for Alford
and finished his career with 3,763 rushing yards, second-most in school
history behind his brother Troy Davis.
Sandwiched between Alford's stints at Iowa State was a year as Washington's
running backs coach in 2001. Under Alford, Husky tailback Willie Hurst
became the ninth back in school history to rush for more than 2,000 career
yards. Washington finished 9-4 and played in the Holiday Bowl.
Alford started his collegiate coaching career with stops at Kent State in
1996 and Mount Union in 1995. With the Golden Flashes, he helped make Astron
Whatley a first-team all-Mid-American Conference player as he rushed for a
career-best 1,132 yards, fifth-most in school history. In Alford's first
college job, Mount Union rushed for 214.5 yards per game as the Purple
Raiders made it to the '95 Division III semifinals and finished with a 12-1
Alford was a first-team all-Western Athletic Conference running back for
Colorado State in 1989 and was an honorable mention selection on USA Today's
All-America team. Alford played for the Rams from 1987-90 and he was a 1989
Doak Walker Award nominee. His 1,035 rushing yards in 1989 were the
sixth-most in school history at the time and he set the school record that
still stands when he dashed for 310 yards versus Colorado. Over the course
of his college career, Alford totaled six 100-yard rushing games.
Following college, Alford was in the Denver Broncos training camp in 1991
and played for the World League of American Football's Birmingham Fire in
1992. Alford earned his bachelor's degree from Colorado State in 1992 and
coached high school football in Fort Collins, Colo., and Lake Wales, Fla.,
A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., Anthony J. Alford was born Nov. 27,
1968, in Akron, Ohio. He was raised in Akron and moved to Colorado Springs
while in high school and graduated from Doherty H.S. in 1987. Alford and his
wife, Trina, have three sons: Rylan, Kyler and Braydon.
Alford replaces Mike Haywood who was named head coach at Miami (Ohio) on
Dec. 23, following four seasons on the Irish staff.
THE ALFORD FILE
Year School Assignment
1995 Mount Union Running Backs
1996 Kent State Running Backs
1997-2000 Iowa State Running Backs
2001 Washington Running Backs
2002-06 Iowa State Assistant Head
2007-08 Louisville Running Backs
2009 Notre Dame Running Backs
Director of Football Media Relations
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Notre Dame, IN 46556
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Cell - 574.532.4134