CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – DeAndre Smith has joined the UNC football staff as running backs coach, head coach Larry Fedora announced Thursday.
Smith, who played collegiately at Southwest Missouri State with UNC offensive coordinator Chris Kapilovic, was hired from UNLV where he had spent the last three months as the Rebels’ running backs coach. He served as Purdue’s running backs coach in 2016.
“I’m excited have DeAndre join our staff and be here for spring football practice,” said Fedora. “DeAndre and Coach Kap played together in college so they have some familiarity, and I’m impressed with his coaching skills and his ability to relate to players. He’s an outstanding recruiter and we’re thrilled to welcome he and his family to Chapel Hill.”
Prior to his year in West Lafayette, Smith spent three seasons as running backs coach at Syracuse. The Orange gained 1,958 yards and scored 15 rushing touchdowns on 445 attempts in 2015. Syracuse averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 163.2 yards per game on the ground in 2015, with freshman Jordan Fredericks rushing for a team-high 607 yards and four touchdowns on 107 attempts.
Smith has previously coached running backs at New Mexico (2012, 2008), Illinois (2010-11), UNLV (2009), Miami (Ohio) (2005- 07) and Northern Illinois (2001-04), which produced four straight all-conference running backs during his tenure. He also served as the assistant head coach with the RedHawks and as a special teams assistant with the Huskies. He began his coaching career as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Indiana State (1999-2000).
In 17 years of coaching, Smith has mentored four All-Americas and has had nine 1,000-yard rushers. Among the notable running backs to play for him are Mikel LeShoure at Illinois and Michael Turner and Garrett Wolfe at Northern Illinois. In 2010, LeShoure set Fighting Illini records for rushing yards (1,697), scoring (122 points) and touchdowns (20). He was a second team All-America, a first team All-Big Ten selection and would go on to be a second-round selection by the Detroit Lions. Turner was a two-time second team All-America for the Huskies (2002, 2003) after leading the Mid-American Conference in rushing, while Wolfe earned honorable mention All-America honors in 2004 after ranking fifth nationally in rushing (1,656 yards). Turner was a fifth-round selection by the San Diego Chargers and played eight years in the NFL. Wolfe was a third-round pick by the Chicago Bears.
A four-year letterwinner at quarterback for Southwest Missouri State, Smith was the 1990 Division I-AA Offensive Player of the Year as well as an All-American. He was named the Gateway Conference Player of the Decade from 1985 to 1995.
Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in organizational communication from SMS in 2002.
A native of St. Louis, Smith and his wife, Lori, have two sons, Ryan and Donovan, and a daughter, Ashley. Ryan played wide receiver at Duke from 2013-16.