Training camp continued for the Pitt football program on Friday and one bit of news that came out was in regard to the coaching staff. Joining the coaches this year as a graduate assistant is former Panther and NFL running back LaRod Stephens-Howling. Pat Narduzzi spoke a little about the move on Friday.
We hired a new graduate assistant yesterday—he’s obviously a former player—for recruiting and operations. LaRod Stephens-Howling will be our new graduate assistant. As you guys know, he’s a former great [Pitt] tailback and a NFL tailback. We’re happy to have him in the program as well.
Narduzzi went on to talk a little about meeting him last year (at the time, Stephens-Howling was doing some work over at Robert Morris) and then eventually bringing him on board at Pitt.
After a solid career at Pitt, Stephens-Howling was taken late in the 2009 NFL Draft, going to the Arizona Cardinals in the seventh round. Late picks like that don’t often stick, but he did. Stephens-Howling played in 57 games over four seasons with the Cardinals as a backup running back and kick returner. He had his best year in 2012, his final season with Arizona, starting in five contests and totaling 462 rushing and receiving yards. He left after that season and resurfaced with the PIttsburgh Steelers in 2013 as a third-down back and return man.
Unfortunately, his season ended early as he tore an ACL in the team’s debut. And while he thought he’d be fully healthy the following year and ready to go, that marked the end of his playing career in the NFL.
While it’s unfortunate that he can’t still be playing football, getting these types of players back on a coaching staff is a great thing for the program. Graduate assistants can be helpful but when you have a former NFL guy there and he’s going to be helping out with recruiting, that’s a big plus. Hopefully he can turn it into a coaching career if that’s what he’d like to do.
Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @AnsonWhaley