SMITHFIELD, R.I. – Bryant University head football coach Chris Merritt is pleased to announce the addition of former FCS National Champion Darrius G. Smith to the coaching staff for the upcoming season.
Smith, who has over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience at both the FCS and FBS level, will serve as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach.
"Darrius won a National Championship at the FCS level and brings several years of experience to the table," Merritt said. "He was most recently at the FBS level with UMass and will be very important in recruiting the D.C., Maryland, Virginia area. He's got a strong ability to connect with today's student-athlete."
Offenses have thrived at every stop throughout Smith's career, including most recently at FBS member Massachusetts and FCS member Villanova. Smith spent four seasons as the running backs coach in Amherst, turning Marquis Young into a three-time Doak Walker Award candidate – top running back in the country. In eight seasons at Villanova, Smith helped the Wildcats win the 2009 FCS National Championship and spearheaded a running game that led the CAA in rushing in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2014.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to help Coach Merritt lead this Bulldog football team to new heights in this new era of Bryant Football," Smith said. "You can tell that this is a very special place and I am honored to take on this role at this fine academic institution. I share in Coach Merritt a goal to create an atmosphere and environment focused on the total development of our student-athletes; the "Culture of Success"."
In four years at UMass, Smith watched as Young rushed for over 3,000 yards and scored 29 touchdowns in his four-year career. His oversaw a group that posted 22 rushing touchdowns in 2018, the most in UMass' FBS history, and averaged 141 yards per game. In addition, Smith served as the offensive recruiting coordinator during his final season at UMass.
Prior to his stint at UMass, Smith was the guiding force behind one of the CAAs most dominant running games. The Wildcats led the CAA in rushing in five of his eight seasons, including a league-leading 252.8 yards per game in 2012. Smith coached a pair of 1,000-yard rushers and several All-CAA players during his time at Villanova. During his time, the Wildcats won the 2009 FCS National Championship, reached the NCAA playoffs four times and won the CAA twice. The 2009 team finished 14-1 and averaged 240 yards per game.
Smith has also made coaching stops at Northeastern (2004-06), James Madison (2002-04), Idaho (2001-02), Indiana (Pa.) (2000-01) and New Mexico Highlands (1995-00).
Smith began his coaching career at Frostburg State as a student assistant after a career as a defensive back, during which he posted 12 interceptions in three years as a starter. Additionally, he received an NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the summer of 2005. He holds a bachelor's degree in health and physical education.