Jan. 19, 2009
Former University of Tennessee and NFL running back Jay Graham has been hired as the running backs coach at the University of South Carolina, head football coach Steve Spurrier announced today.
"I am looking forward to the opportunity to get back into the SEC and am excited about coaching a very good group of running backs at South Carolina," said Graham. "I also know some of the guys on the coaching staff and look forward to working with them and with Coach Spurrier. It's a great opportunity for me."
Graham comes to Carolina after spending the 2008 season as the running backs coach at Miami (Ohio) University. He was the only member of the 2008 staff retained by new head coach Mike Haywood for the 2009 campaign.
"We think Jay is an outstanding young coach," said Coach Spurrier. "He is just getting started in his coaching career but he has impressed us in the interview process. He has played at a high level and knows what college running backs are going through. We think he is a great addition to our staff and will add to our success."
The former Tennessee Volunteer star and a six-year veteran of the National Football League came to the RedHawks from the University of Tennessee-Martin, where he served one year as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Under Graham's tutelage, Skyhawk running backs averaged nearly five yards per carry in 2007.
Graham came to Tennessee-Martin from the University of San Diego were he was the running backs coach and co-special teams coordinator. He spent the 2006 season as a running backs coach at Chattanooga. In 2005, he returned to his alma mater as an offensive graduate assistant.
Graham rushed for 2,609 yards in his career (1993-96), ranking sixth on the Vols all-time rushing list. He is second on the all-time carries list with 540 and he scored 25 touchdowns in his four-year career as a Volunteer. Graham had season best totals in 1995 when he rushed for 1,438 yards on 272 carries putting him second in both categories in Vols school history. He tallied a career-best 211 yards against Vanderbilt. He also holds the single-season record for the most 100-yard rushing games with 10.
Graham was a third-round draft pick in 1997 by the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League. In his first season, he put up career numbers when he played in 13 games, rushed for 299 yards on 81 carries, and scored two touchdowns. Graham spent six seasons in the NFL for three different organizations --- Baltimore Ravens (1997-2000) Seattle Seahawks (2001) and the Green Bay Packers (2002). He played in the Canadian Football League in 2003 for the Montreal Alouettes.
In 2004, Graham returned to the University of Tennessee to finish his undergraduate degree in psychology. He is currently working toward his master's degree in sports management.
Graham attended Concord High School in Concord, N.C., where he was a USA Today All-American football player in 1992.
He and his wife, Kelly, are the parents of two daughters, Nia and Denae, and a son, Jayson.
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