Provo • AJ Steward, a former Kansas player who was an assistant coach at Rice University in Houston the past six years, is BYU’s new running backs coach, coach Kalani Sitake announced Tuesday.

Steward, 28, becomes the 10th coach on the staff and completes the coaching overhaul that Sitake initiated when he released offensive coordinator Ty Detmer in late November.

Steward became known as an excellent recruiter who could develop players in the talent-rich state of Texas during six years at Rice, the last four as the Owls’ running backs coach, according to Sitake. Like BYU, Rice also has stringent academic standards, and Steward is familiar with that focus.

“I’m excited to welcome AJ to our coaching staff,” Sitake said in a school news release.

Rice averaged 187.0 yards rushing per game last season, ranking second in Conference USA and No. 38 in the country.

“My wife and I are tremendously excited and are blessed to join the BYU football family,” Steward said. “I am grateful [to BYU administrators] for entrusting me with this amazing opportunity to come to Provo and be part of the rich-football tradition at BYU. I sincerely look forward to not only making a difference on the field but also making a life-long impact on the young men in the program.”

Steward is a native of St. Louis, Mo., and was recruited to Kansas as a quarterback before switching to wide receiver then tight end.


Offensive coordinator • Jeff Grimes

Passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach • Aaron Roderick

Receivers coach • Fesi Sitake

Tight ends coach • Steve Clark

Offensive line coach • Ryan Pugh

Running backs coach • AJ Steward