Oklahoma hires DeMarco Murray, Sooners' all-purpose yardage leader, to coach running backs

Shalise Manza YoungYahoo Sports Columnist
Yahoo Sports
DeMarco Murray is returning to Oklahoma as the Sooners' running backs coach. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
DeMarco Murray is returning to Oklahoma as the Sooners' running backs coach. (Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

DeMarco Murray has left the Arizona Wildcats after just one season.

Murray, who was hired by Kevin Sumlin just a year ago to begin his coaching career as the Wildcats’ running backs coach, has been hired away by Oklahoma.

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‘Excited to be back home’

Murray, a first-team All-Pro and NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2014 with the Dallas Cowboys, tweeted the news.

“Excited to be back home where it all started! Can’t thank [coach Lincoln Riley] enough for this opportunity and look forward to seeing a lot of familiar faces and getting ready to work!” he wrote.

Born in Las Vegas, Murray was a third-round pick of the Cowboys in 2011, and was a three-time Pro Bowler, twice with Dallas and once with the Tennessee Titans. He also spent one season with the Eagles.

In 2014, Murray led the NFL in carries (392), rushing yards (1,845), rushing touchdowns (13), touches (449) and yards from scrimmage (2,261).

‘A really exciting day’

At Oklahoma from 2007-2010, Murray was a standout. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in 2008, when the Sooners reached the BCS National Championship (Murray was injured and couldn’t play in that game), was a first-team All-Big 12 selection in his final season, and is the school’s all-time leader in all-purpose yards (6,718), touchdowns (65) and kickoff return average (27.6 yards).

In a statement, Riley said he was glad to have Murray back in Norman.

“This is a really exciting day, being able to welcome one of our program's all-time best players back to Norman,” Riley said. “DeMarco had a tremendous playing career both at OU and in the NFL and has a passion for coaching and helping young men grow as players and people. He's got an incredibly bright coaching future and will be an outstanding mentor to our players. I don't think there's anyone better to lead our running backs. Everyone in our program is excited to have DeMarco, his wife Heidi and their children as part of our family.”

In the same statement, Murray said it was “surreal” to be back with the Sooners.

“I never thought I'd be back coaching at the place where it all started for me. Having the opportunity to come back and be among great coaches and be with some of the people I grew up with is exciting. I'm thankful for the opportunity Coach Riley is giving me and I'm looking forward to being back home,” he said.

“Football has always been a passion of mine. I've been fortunate to have had a lot of coaches and friends work with me throughout my career and give me great tools, and I feel like it's only right to give back to young student-athletes.”

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