HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall has hired Youngstown State’s Pepe Pearson to fill the program’s void at running backs coach, Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday announced Wednesday.
Pepe Pearson comes to Huntington after one season with the Youngstown State football program as its running backs coach.
In 2015, the Penguins had more than 2,000 yards rushing for the sixth consecutive season. Junior Martin Ruiz ended the season ranked sixth in school history in rushing yards (3,153), sixth in attempts (645), eighth in rushing touchdowns (29) and 10th in all-purpose yards (3,956). Backfield mate Jody Webb was also named the Missouri Valley Conference’s second team.
“We are thrilled with the addition of Pepe to our program,” said Holliday. “He brings with him a wealth of experience. He has played the game at the highest level and will fit in well with the rest of our staff.”
Prior to joining Coach Bo Pelini’s YSU staff Pearson spent 10 seasons at Ohio Dominican.
Pearson, who was a standout running back at Ohio State from 1994-97, coached some of the top Division II running backs during his tenure with the Panthers.
During his last four years with the program he managed the special teams units in addition to coaching the running backs.
In 2014, Pearson helped the Panthers advance to the third round of the NCAA Division II playoffs as running back Brandon Schoen finished with 1,134 yards. ODU finished the campaign with an 11-2 record losing to Colorado State Pueblo in the Super Region Four final. The 11 wins represented the most for the team since joining Division II in 2010 and the most by a Panthers team since 2007.
Under Pearson’s guidance, Schoen has already become the school’s all-time leading rusher heading into his senior year (2015) with 3,327 yards. Pearson’s work with Schoen has helped him receive All-GLIAC honors for two consecutive years.
In 2013, Pearson witnessed two players surpass 1,000 rushing yards in a season for the first time in school history as he Mark Nichols finished with 1,187 yards rushing and Schoen tallied 1,154 yards rushing. Nichols garnered first-team All-GLIAC honors and Schoen received second team all-conference honors.
During the 2011-12 seasons, the Panthers began to re-write the school’s rushing records as running back Mike Noffsinger was named a Harlon Hill Trophy semifinalist as one of the best Division II players in the country.
Noffsinger set school single-season and career rushing marks for yards and touchdowns as the Panthers finished 2011 with the best rushing offense in program history. Noffsinger toted the ball a school-record 246 times for 1,242 yards and 12 touchdowns, averaging 112.9 yards per game on the ground. He finished with nine 100-yard games this season and set a school-record with 2,714 rushing yards.
At Ohio State, he helped lead the Buckeyes to four straight bowl appearances from 1994-97, including a 1997 Rose Bowl victory. A four-year letterwinner for OSU, Pearson gained 1,484 yards and 17 touchdowns on 299 carries his junior year, and was selected All-Big Ten and team Most Valuable Player (MVP). He finished his career as the Buckeyes’ fifth all-time leading rusher with 3,121 yards while playing under former head coach John Cooper.
After completing his college career, Pearson played for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played in NFL Europe, where he won the 2000 World Bowl Championship with the Rhein Fire, scoring the game-winning touchdown.
After his decorated playing career came to a close, Pearson was the head coach of the Daytona Beach Hawgs in 2005-06, formerly of the National Indoor Football League. He next served as the Head Coach and General Manager of the Marion Mayhem, a member of the Continental Indoor Football League from 2007-09. He led his team to the 2009 conference championship with a record of 9-3.
A 1998 graduate of The Ohio State University majoring in Sociology, Pearson was a four-year starter and high school All-America honoree at Euclid High School.
He has two sons, London and Roman, and a daughter, Mychal.