After three full seasons as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at North Dakota, Kevin Maurice is joining the Eastern coaching staff as the new coach of Eagle running backs, head coach Aaron Best announced Monday (March 13).

His tenure with the Fighting Hawks included the 2016 season when both North Dakota and Eastern Washington shared the league title with identical 8-0 records to advance to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs, and UND featured a pair of All-America running backs.
 "It will be great to team up with a former fellow champion in this tough league," said Best. "He was UND's recruiting coordinator, which makes him versatile and knowledgeable in the recruiting world. Familiarity with the Big Sky was another plus."
"It means a lot to me because historically Eastern has been really successful at a national level," said Maurice of his hiring. "Its history drew me into the program and I've been looking at the program from afar for many years, even when I was a student-athlete. To be part of the football program at Eastern is justifiable in my career and I'm here to accept the challenge."
Maurice went against EWU just once in those three seasons he was on the staff of UND head coach Bubba Schweigert. That was a 54-3 Eagle victory in 2014 in which UND rushed for 131 yards and had only 37 passing. North Dakota was just 3-8 overall and 2-6 in the league prior to his arrival, but then went 5-7/3-5, 7-4/5-3 and 9-3/8-0 in the three years after that for a collective overall record of 21-14 and 16-8 league mark in his three seasons in Grand Forks.
Maurice is a former running back at Texas-El Paso and later St. Joseph's College in Indiana. He has also had collegiate coaching stops at Purdue, Nevada, Miami, Cincinnati and Midwestern State, as well as a brief stint with the Cleveland Browns.
 "He's been a part of some very successful programs and teams," Best added. "The production of his running backs has been top notch and has been witnessed by our staff for the past three years. The proof is in the body of work he has put together in terms of the team and individual rushing statistics and honors his running backs have achieved, most recently at UND."
"I know the lay of the land in the Big Sky," Maurice added. "From my three years at North Dakota I know what it takes to be a Big Sky champion. I also know the profile of running backs we need to have at Eastern to win the league title year-in and year-out."
While in Grand Forks, Maurice coached All-America running back John Santiago, who earned first team All-Big Conference honors in both 2015 and 2016, and was the league's Freshman of the Year in 2015. Brady Oliveira earned third team All-Big Sky honors and also earned All-America accolades in 2016.
Santiago, who was injured part of the 2016 season, rushed for 983 yards and seven touchdowns, while Oliveira finished with 897 and 10 scores. North Dakota had a running back rush for at least 100 yards in eight of 12 games, after having a 100-yard rusher in nine of 11 games in 2015 for a total of 17 in 23 games in two seasons.
Santiago began fall camp in 2015 playing wide receiver, but by the end of the campaign was an All-America running back. He set UND Division I records for rushing yards (1,459) and rushing touchdowns (16), and broke a single-season program record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 2,159. He had 230 yards and three touchdowns against Montana State, and in the same game Oliveira had 167 and one score.
Santiago was the only running back in the FCS to rush for more than 100 yards in each of his conference games and finished fourth nationally, averaging 136.2 rushing yards per game. In fact, Santiago was one of three true freshmen running backs to each muster a 100-yard rushing game for Maurice in 2015. Oliveira and Iwarri Smith also cracked the century mark as UND's stable of running backs finished with 2,213 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns.
In Maurice's first season at UND in 2014, senior Jer Garman emerged as an honorable mention All-Big Sky selection. After losing two key contributors in the back field to season-ending injuries during the campaign, Garman took control of the ground attack in the final five games, averaging 146.0 yards per game. That stretch included a 235-yard, two-touchdown effort in the upset of No. 22 Northern Arizona and helped him notch honorable mention All-Big Sky honors.
Besides being the program's recruiting coordinator, he also helped coach special teams. Among the players he coached was 2014 first team All-Big Sky punt returner Alex Tillman.
Maurice spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons at Purdue where he began his tenure as a graduate assistant before being named director of player personnel. In February of 2013, he was elevated to assistant recruiting coordinator at the Big Ten school for head coach Danny Hope.
Prior to his two years in West Lafayette, Ind., Maurice made stops at three other FBS programs, with the latest coming as an offensive graduate assistant at Nevada in 2011. He briefly served as a recruiting assistant at Miami (Fla.) before joining the Wolf Pack staff. Maurice spent the 2010 season as a recruiting assistant for head coach Butch Jones at Cincinnati.
Before making the move to the FBS level, Maurice spent a season as the running backs coach at Midwestern State (Texas) in 2009 and was an offensive coordinator at North Miami (Fla.) High School in 2008. The Miami native played collegiately at UTEP for two seasons in 2003 and 2004 and finished his bachelor's degree in criminal justice at St. Joseph's (Ind.) College in 2006.

Running Backs Coach
Eastern Washington University

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