Arizona State has found its new running backs coach (again), tabbing John Simon to join Todd Graham’s staff in Tempe.
Simon spent three seasons at Southern Miss before being hired by Louisiana-Lafayette to coach wide receivers earlier this month.
ASU had hired Kodi Burns to coach running backs, but he left after just one month on the job to guide receivers at Auburn, his alma mater.
“John has a familiarity with our system, knows what it takes to be successful, and has learned from the best coaches in our business, including Joe Gibbs, Steve Spurrier, Jeff Fischer, Hue Jackson, and Gary Crowton,” Graham said in a statement. “With his background as a high school coach and administrator, John understands the importance of developing the character of our young men, not only their athletic ability, and has shown a dedication to improving the communities around him.”
Under Simon’s tutelage, Southern Miss was one of just five FBS programs to have two 1,000-yard running backs in 2015. Running backs Ito Smith (1,128 yards) and Jalen Richard (1,098) each had over 1,000 yards last season. The Golden Eagles joined Baylor, Indiana, Nevada and San Diego State as the only programs to accomplish the feat.
The two helped lead Southern Miss to the Conference USA championship game and its first bowl game since 2011.
“I’m excited to be a part of the history and the culture here,” says Simon. “What coach Graham stands for and what he has accomplished here in four years is what I want to be a part of. Coach Graham believes in the complete student-athlete and that is what I believe in, both on and off the field. He believes in building relationships with recruits, parents and student-athletes. This is a natural fit for me, especially to be coaching running backs. I am so thankful for the opportunity.”
The Sun Devils finished 6-7 in 2015 while ranking fifth in the Pac-12 averaging 178.4 yards rushing per game.
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