Kirby Wilson is in his seventh season as the Steelers’ running backs coach. Wilson, who was hired on January 29, 2007, came to Pittsburgh with 19 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional levels
Kirby Wilson is in his seventh season as the Steelers’ running backs coach. Wilson, who was hired on January 29, 2007, came to Pittsburgh with 19 years of coaching experience at both the collegiate and professional levels.
In Wilson’s 15 years as a running backs coach in the NFL, he has tutored four of the top-25 rushers in NFL history (Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Edgerrin James and Thomas Jones).
Wilson, 51, has been instrumental in the rising contributions from Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, and was instrumental in the success of former Steeler Rashard Mendenhall.
In 2012, the Steelers had a 100-yard rusher in three straight games (Weeks 7-9). Dwyer recorded his second and third career 100-yard rushing games in back-to-back weeks. In Week 7 at Cincinnati, Dwyer recorded a career-high 122 rushing yards, and the following week versus Washington, Dwyer rushed for 107 yards. In Week 9, Redman recorded a career-high 147 rushing yards against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
In 2011, Wilson helped the Steelers achieve success on the ground by using a number of running backs. The backs combined to total 1,903 rushing yards on 434 carries, averaging 4.4 yards per carry, marking the third consecutive season that Pittsburgh averaged over 4.0 yards per rush.
In 2010, Mendenhall set a career high with 1,273 rushing yards, ranking him seventh in the NFL. Mendenhall had three 100-yard games and a career-high 13 rushing touchdowns.
In 2009, Wilson was instrumental in Mendenhall’s breakout season as he posted his first career 1,000-yard rushing season with 1,108 yards on the year and a team-high seven rushing touchdowns. In 2007, Wilson helped Willie Parker earn his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection and lead the NFL in rushing through the first 16 weeks, before he broke his leg in the second-to-last game of the season.
Prior to joining the Steelers, Wilson coached running backs for the Arizona Cardinals (2004-06) after spending two seasons as running backs coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-03). In Wilson’s first season with Tampa Bay, a trio of backs, Michael Pittman, Aaron Stecker and Pro Bowler Mike Alstott, collectively gained over 1,400 rushing yards and helped the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl XXXVII victory over Oakland.
Prior to his stint with the Buccaneers, Wilson spent four years as running backs coach with the New England Patriots (1997-99) and Washington Redskins (2000), tutoring the Patriots Curtis Martin (1997) and Robert Edwards (1998), and Redskins Stephen Davis (2000). In addition, Wilson honed the skills of Washington’s fullback Larry Centers, who led his team with 80 pass receptions in 2000. Centers (827 pass receptions) and Keith Byars (610 receptions), whom Wilson coached in New England in 1997, rank first and fourth in career receptions by a running back in NFL history, respectively.
Wilson coached running backs at Iowa State from 1995-96. Under his guidance, Troy Davis earned All-America honors and led the nation with over 2,000 yards rushing in both 1995 and 1996. He is the only player in NCAA history to reach the 2,000-yard rushing mark in consecutive seasons.
He joined the staff at the University of Wyoming (1993-94) as secondary coach, helping the Cowboys win the 1993 WAC title and earn an appearance in the Copper Bowl. From 1991-92, he was an assistant at Southern Illinois University.
Wilson entered the coaching arena on the staff at Pasadena City College (1985) as wide receivers coach. After earning a bachelor of arts degree from Eastern Illinois in 1989, he returned to the sidelines at Los Angeles Southwest Community College (1989-90) as quarterbacks and wide receivers coach.
A running back and wide receiver at Pasadena Community College (1979-80) and the University of Illinois (1980-81), Wilson played two seasons in the Canadian Football League as a defensive back and kick returner for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1983) and Toronto Argonauts (1984).
Born in Los Angeles, Calif., Wilson was on the football and track teams at Dorsey High School in his native Los Angeles. Wilson has five children; sons Kris, Michael and Tyler, and daughters Malia and Savanna.
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