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Arizona Wildcats running backs coach Calvin Magee wins national award

Calvin Magee

With his star pupil leading the nation in rushing, Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Calvin Magee was selected the FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year on Sunday.

Magee, who is also the team’s associate head coach and co-offensive coordinator, was selected among five finalists, which were chosen from nominations by coaches, athletic directors and other athletic department personnel.

“Calvin does a great job every year with our backs,” head coach Rich Rodriguez said.

“But when your back has a year like Ka’Deem, you get a little more attention. He’s well-deserving. He’s a great football coach.”

Sophomore Ka’Deem Carey enters the postseason as the nation’s leading rusher (146.42 yards per game) and a school season record 1,757 yards on the ground. Carey ran 91 times for 425 yards last season while splitting time with senior Keola Antolin, and his emergence this year speaks well of Magee.

Carey said Magee’s teaching of identifying the cut-back lanes has been the most important thing.

“He will preach to you up and down to hit the cut-back,” Carey said.

“Once I started hitting it, that’s when I turned into a different it. I am definitely always going to remember that. Coach Magee is a great dude. I can’t believe the first season went this way between me and him.

“I felt like we clicked right away. He made the phone call and made me feel comfortable, just saying, ‘It’s going to be a big year, let’s get after it.’ I didn’t know what to expect, but this is what’s happened.”

Arizona ranks 15th nationally in rushing with 230.4 yards per game.

Magee is well-versed in the read-option offense, hired to be on Rodriguez’s first staff at West Virginia in 2001. He was with Rodriguez there for seven years and then three more at Michigan. Magee coached at Pitt for one season under Todd Graham in 2011 before re-joining Rodriguez at Arizona after last season.

The other four finalists for the Running Backs Coach of the Year award were Oregon’s Gary Campbell, Wisconsin’s Thomas Hammock, Louisiana Tech’s Pierre Ingram and Kent State’s Jafar Williams.

Magee will receive his award at the American Football Coaches Association convention in January.

He was not made available for interviews after Sunday’s practice.

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