The Kansas City Chiefs received a jolt of adrenaline Friday, when head coach Andy Reid announced Eric Bieniemy as the team's new running backs coach.
Bieniemy joins the Chiefs after spending two seasons at the University of Colorado, where he served as the offensive coordinator/running backs coach. Prior to returning to his alma mater in 2011, he spent five seasons (2006-10) in Minnesota, coaching the Vikings running backs.
Bieniemy was a vital part of the Vikings teams that won consecutive NFC North Division titles in 2008-09. During his five seasons, the Vikings produced a 1,000-yard rusher each year, while his group of running backs broke the 100-yard mark 31 times in 80 regular season games. Prior to coaching in Minnesota, he coached at UCLA (2003-05), Colorado (2001-02) and Thomas Jefferson High School in Denver, Colorado (2000).
The All-American tailback for the Buffaloes (1987-90) entered the league as a second-round pick by the San Diego Chargers, during the 1991 NFL Draft. During his nine-year career, he played with three teams: San Diego (1991-94), Cincinnati (1995-98) and Philadelphia (1999), under Chiefs coach Andy Reid.
The Chiefs new running backs coach inherits a group that was the team's bright spot during 2012. Pro Bowl RB Jamaal Charles shined, finishing with 1,509 yards. Nonetheless, the new coach's credibility amongst his backs will be instantaneous, from a coaching and playing perspective.
Bieniemy's footprints are all over the CU record book, as he remains the school's all-time leader in rushing (3,940 yards), all-purpose yards (4,351), touchdowns (42) and scoring (254 points). So, the new running backs coach can either break out the game film of his CU-playing days or reveal the stat sheets of guys he's coached, like UCLA Bruins RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who became just the 10th Bruin to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season (1,007) in 2004. Bieniemy also coached Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, who led the NFC and ranked second in the league with 1,341 rushing yards as a rookie. Peterson also led the NFL in rushing in 2008, earning a franchise-best 1,760 yards and paced the NFL in 2009 with 18 rushing TDs.
Chiefs fans know that Bieniemy can be an impact hire. During his first year at Colorado, he helped the Buffs finish eighth in the nation in rushing, averaging 228.5 yards per game. The tailbacks and fullbacks amassed 2,620 yards, the most yards out of all the running back positions in college football for 2001. In 2002, the Colorado backfield combined for over 3,000 yards to lead the nation.
If Kingdom fans thought the Chiefs running game was exciting in 2012, now with Bieniemy toting the whistle, look for a fast and more furious approach in 2013.
Click the Flashback Photo Gallery to see some of Eric Bieniemy's classic moments from the past.