Shawn Gibbs is in his fourth season as the running backs coach at North Carolina A&T.
In has been a prosperous three years for A&T running backs under Gibbs. In two out of the last three seasons the MEAC’s leading rusher has played for the Aggies. Two of his running backs have also earned end of the year accolades from the conference as Tarik Cohen earned MEAC Rookie of the Year in 2013 and Mike Mayhew was voted MEAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year in 2011. Mayhew also broke the Aggies’ all-time rushing record in 2011 and was named second-team All-MEAC in 2012. Ricky Lewis had a career year in 2012, rushing for 437 yards and six touchdowns on 97 carries. Dominique Drake, Cohen and Lewis combined to score 19 rushing touchdowns in 2013. In each of the past three seasons A&T’s running game has ranked now lower than fourth in the MEAC.
In his first season under Gibbs, Cohen broke the Aggies freshman rushing record by becoming the first Aggies rookie to rush for more than 1,000 yards in a season. Cohen also finished ninth for the Jerry Rice award given to the best rookie in the FCS.
Before his time at A&T, Gibbs spent four seasons as Grambling’s running backs coach. Under Gibbs’ watch, the Tigers possessed one of the most successful running games in Division I-FCS. Gibbs inherited a young running back corps that included freshmen Frank Warren and Cornelius Walker. In their first year under Gibbs, Warren and Walker combined for 1,466 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Warren was named SWAC Freshman of the Year in 2007 as he finished with 901 yards.
The running game continued to flourish under Gibbs in 2009. The Grambling rushing attack ascended to a No. 12 ranking nationally. During the same season, Warren registered 84.2 yards per game, while Walker compiled 58.6 yards per contest. The following season, Warren finished fourth in the nation in rushing with 139.7 yards per game, and Grambling ranked 15th in the nation in rushing.
Gibbs’ stint at A&T marks his third stop with head coach Rod Broadway. He was also a running backs coach under Broadway at N.C. Central from 2003-06. During his four seasons there, he helped the Eagles put together one of the best offenses in Division II football. The Eagles won consecutive CIAA titles in 2005 and ‘06. During the 2006 season, the Eagles led the CIAA in scoring offense, total offense and rushing offense.
The Eagles’ running game was led Greg Pruitt, Jr. Under Gibbs, Pruit developed into one of the most feared running backs in the nation and the school’s all-time leading rusher. Pruitt led the Eagles in rushing or three straight seasons, including two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2004 and ‘05. Pruitt finished his career with more than 3,000 yards rushing. As a result, he signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens.
The relationship Gibbs has with the Eagles football program extends to him being a star running back for the Eagles (1993-97). He ranks among the all-time leading rushers in school history with 1,687 yards. Over his career, he averaged 5.1 yards per carry. Gibbs tied the school record for longest rushing touchdown from scrimmage in 1996 when he went 89 yards against Fayetteville State. Gibbs led the Eagles in rushing during the 1996 and ‘97 seasons, and he ranks among the Eagles’ top career scoring leaders with 121 points. He had a career-best 10 touchdowns in 1996.