Ohio State Running Backs Coach Tony Alford Leaving for Michigan

By Dan Hope on March 13, 2024 at 11:12 am
Tony Alford

Tony Alford is leaving Ohio State for its archrival.

Michigan officially announced the hiring of Ohio State’s longtime running backs coach as its run game coordinator and running backs coach on Wednesday.

"Tony is an elite running backs coach who is an outstanding mentor and example for young men in all aspects of football and life," Michigan coach Sherrone Moore said in a statement. "I know that he will have a profound impact on our running back room and football program. We are excited to have Tony and his wife, Trina, and their boys join the Michigan Football Family."

Alford shared a message on social media addressing his departure in which he thanked Urban Meyer, Gene Smith, Ryan Day, Ohio State fans and his players.

Alford had been Ohio State’s running backs coach since 2015. He was the second-longest-tenured assistant on the Buckeyes’ coaching staff behind only defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who joined Ohio State in 2014.

Alford is replacing Mike Hart, who was not retained by Moore, as the Wolverines’ new running backs coach.

With Alford leaving for Ann Arbor, Ohio State has an unexpected vacancy on its coaching staff after its first two spring practices. The Buckeyes do not have a clear candidate on their support staff to replace Alford, so Ohio State will likely need to search for a new running backs coach as it returns to the practice field next week.

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day could help fill those duties on an interim basis, as he was seen working closely with Ohio State’s running backs during the portions of practice that were open to the media last week.

In his nine seasons as Ohio State’s running backs coach, Alford has been known as one of the top running backs coaches in the country, helping develop the likes of Ezekiel Elliott, J.K. Dobbins and TreVeyon Henderson, among others. He put together what is expected to be college football’s best running back room in 2024 by bringing in former Ole Miss running back Quinshon Judkins to pair with Henderson at Ohio State this season.

That said, Alford was not among the Ohio State coaches who received contract extensions last month even though his contract was set to expire at the end of last season. With new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly expected to have a say in future offensive coaching staff decisions, Alford’s long-term future with the Buckeyes beyond 2024 was uncertain.

Alford, who made $772,500 at Ohio State in 2023, is expected to receive a significant increase in pay from the Wolverines.

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