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Autry Denson begins his first year coaching running backs for Miami University.

Denson spent the past three seasons as the running backs coach at Bethune-Cookman. In 2013 B-CU’s running backs totaled 2,179 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns on 401 attempts (5.4 ypc). The Wildcats would finish the year with a 10-3 record, which included a trip to the NCAA playoffs.

In 2012, Denson had his first running back eclipse the 1,000-yard rushing mark in the form of junior Isidore Jackson. He rushed for 1,069 yards total in becoming the first Wildcats running back to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season since 1997. Jackson also finished the campaign second in the league for rushing yards, marking the highest finish for a Wildcat running back in league standings in more than 10 years.

In all, the Bethune-Cookman rushing attack totaled 2,928 yards and 28 of the team’s 43 touchdowns on the campaign. Four players rushed for more than 400 yards, including Rodney Scott who was second on the team with 632 yards and five touchdowns. In the rushing category, B-CU led the league and finished 10th nationally with an average of 244.42 yards per game, and accumulating 28 rushing touchdowns on 2,933 yards total for the season.

He oversaw the development of a strong Wildcat running game in 2011, headed up by All-MEAC first team performer Jackson, who rushed for 866 yards and seven touchdowns on 146 carries under Denson’s guidance. The B-CU running backs combined for 2,058 yards, leading an offensive ground attack that finished fifth in the NCAA Division I FCS rankings with 259.3 yards per game.

In the off-season months, Denson had the opportunity to participate in the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaches Internship Program, giving him a chance to reunite with Tony Dungy, the coach who drafted him out of Notre Dame. Denson interned over the summer in camps with the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins, in addition to working a summer football camp with Urban Meyer, one of his former position coaches when he was with the Irish.

Before coming to the college ranks and B-CU, Denson was head football coach at Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton, Fla. during the 2010 season.

Denson began his career as a coach after a stellar playing career, forming his own youth program called POISE (Perseverance, Opportunity, Intelligence, Sacrifice and Effort), working with teenage athletes in education, on the field, and in bible study. The organization led to the creation of the Run for Your Goal Youth Flag Football League, of which Denson is the commissioner. RFYG provides a safe place for the youth of South Florida to learn the game of football.

Coming out of Notre Dame as a seventh round in the 1999 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denson started for the Miami Dolphins in the 1999 and 2000 seasons, after which he played for the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts. He later went on to play in the Canadian Football League for the Montreal Alouettes, where he finished eighth in the league in rushing.

Before turning pro, Denson set the record as the all-time leading rusher at Notre Dame with 4,318 yards and 43 touchdowns, capping a spectacular college career which included MVP honors at the 1999 Gator Bowl and team MVP for the Fighting Irish in 1997 and 1998 seasons, playing two years under Lou Holtz and two under Bob Davie.

He surpassed 100 yards in a game 21 times during his four years with the Irish, just two games short of yet another program record. Denson logged three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and no other running back has come within 1,000 yards of his mark since his graduation with a Business degree in 1999.

Denson is a South Florida native and graduate of Nova High in Davie, playing for Coach Willie Dodaro, where he set the Broward County rushing record. He was named 1995 Offensive Player of the Year by the Ft. Lauderdale Sun Sentinel and Player of the Year by the Miami Herald.

He and his wife, Elaine, have four children, Ashley (18), Autry III (15), Elijah (8) and Asia (6).

Denson Timeline
2011-13 – Bethune-Cookman, Running Backs
2010 – Pope John Paul II High School, Head Coach