GOAZCATS - Arizona tabs BYU's AJ Steward as next running backs coach
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Arizona tabs BYU's AJ Steward as next running backs coach

Arizona has once again completed its coaching staff for the upcoming season. Friday, head coach Kevin Sumlin announced the addition of running backs coach AJ Steward as a replacement for DeMarco Murray who left to Oklahoma in recent weeks.

Steward has spent the last two seasons at BYU as the running backs coach for the Cougars after serving in the same position at Rice from 2014-2017. The St. Louis native started his coaching career at Rice as a graduate assistant in 2012 after his college career came to an end at Kansas.

The 29-year-old coach, who will be UA's youngest assistant, is the fourth running backs coach in as many years for the Wildcats.

“We couldn’t be happier to be welcoming AJ to the Arizona Football Family,” Sumlin said in a statement released by the program. “AJ brings a work ethic and experience that will impact the development of our student-athletes in a very positive way. His passion for the game, passion for making a difference and his recruiting background make him a great fit for our staff.”

The new UA running backs coach will inherit arguably the team's deepest position group with several key returners at the position in addition to impressive incoming freshmen Jalen John and Frank Brown. The Wildcats will have to replace starting back JJ Taylor who decided to enter his name in the NFL Draft, but there are several players who have contributed already and remain part of the group including Gary Brightwell, Bam Smith, Michael Wiley and Nathan Tilford.

“My wife Virginia and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to come to Tucson and make the University of Arizona our home,” Steward said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue my coaching career under someone like Coach Sumlin, and I can’t wait to get to work with our young men!”

Steward was a quarterback in high school but moved to receiver and then tight end during his playing career at Kansas, but he has strictly been a running backs coach since moving to the sidelines.

Coaching history

Arizona Assistant Coach – Running Backs (2020-current)

BYU Assistant Coach – Running Backs (2018-19)

Rice Assistant Coach – Running Backs (2014-17)

Rice Graduate Assistant (2012-13)

DISCUSS: Arizona's latest staff addition