On Thursday, UND announced the hiring of Malcolm Agnew as the team’s new running backs coach, replacing Kevin Maurice, who left Grand Forks for Cheney, Wash., and Big Sky Conference foe Eastern Washington.
Late last night, I had the opportunity to chat with Agnew, who came across as a very upbeat, energetic personality — first comparison that came to mind was UND WRs coach and former QB Danny Freund.
Here’s 5 things to know about the new hire.
- Agnew comes from a football family. Agnew’s father, Ray, was a veteran defensive end in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams in 2000. Ray is still a scout for the Rams. Malcolm also spent a year as a volunteer scout for the Rams before joining the staff at Nebraska. Malcolm’s brother, Ray Agnew III, played fullback in the NFL for a few seasons. Ray Agnew III also played fullback at Southern Illinois.
- Agnew has history with UND’s coaching staff. Malcolm Agnew knows UND head coach Bubba Schweigert, defensive coordinator Eric Schmidt and defensive backs coach Travis Stepps from their time together at Southern Illinois. Malcolm, who turned 24 this week, said he remembers Schmidt recruiting Malcolm’s brother to Southern Illinois. He said Schmidt was also involved in the transfer process when Malcolm transferred from Oregon State to SIU. Malcolm said he’s always had a respect for Schweigert, Schmidt and Stepps. He said Schmidt relates to kids very well.
- Agnew is not the recruiting coordinator. An under-the-radar portion of Agnew’s hire announcement was that he doesn’t have the title of recruiting coordinator. I’ll be digging into that next week to see who Schweigert is giving that title. My guess would be Danny Freund or Joel Schwenzfeier. Maybe Shawn Kostich, although that might be a lot on his plate as he’s already the special teams coordinator. The good news is that there’s plenty of good position coach candidates in-house.
- Agnew is stepping into an easy gig initially. The UND running back stable is full of experience and talent. The Fighting Hawks return juniors John Santiago and Brady Oliveira. They also are adding former Fargo South star and Minnesota Gophers transfer James Johannesson. Also, don’t forget about Austin Gordon. He’s always made the most of his opportunities, and he’s going to be tough to shut out of the mix in 2017.
- Agnew had to retire from football due to injury but once destroyed Sacramento State. Agnew’s shot at the NFL ended early when he failed a physical because of a spinal injury and was released by the Green Bay Packers. One cool statistic of Agnew’s playing career is that his college debut at Oregon State, he played against Sacramento State of the Big Sky. Agnew rushed for 223 yards on 33 carries with three touchdowns.