Kragthorpe Completes Staff
Jan. 18, 2007
Louisville, Ky. - University of Louisville head coach Steve Kragthorpe has completed his staff with hiring of Tony Alford as the running backs coach.
Alford comes to the Derby City after playing a major role in solidifying Iowa State's reputation as one of the most successful programs nationally rushing the football. Under Alford's guidance, Iowa State was one of only three NCAA Division I schools to have produced a 1,000-yard rusher annually between 1995 and 2001.
After one year at Washington, Alford returned to ISU as assistant head coach in 2002. The 2005 EV1.net Houston Bowl was Alford's fourth postseason appearance with the Cyclones.
Under Alford, tailback Stevie Hicks became the third Iowa State rusher to eclipse the 1,000-yard barrier since 1997 with 1,062 yards in 2004.
On special teams, Alford turned the Cyclone kickoff return unit into the Big 12's best. ISU led the league and ranked 20th nationally, averaging 23.2 yards per return in 2004. The Cyclones were ranked 17th nationally last season (23.4). It was a dramatic improvement from ranking 86th nationally and 10th in the Big 12 in 2003.
Alford was on the Cyclones' 2000 Insight.com Bowl championship staff that claimed the fi rst bowl victory in ISU history en route to a 9-3 record. First-team all-Big 12 tailback Ennis Haywood ranked 10th nationally in rushing and led the league with 1,237 yards. When Haywood was sidelined by injury at Oklahoma State, Michael Wagner stepped in and rushed for a freshman school-record 170 yards and two touchdowns.
Cyclone tailback Darren Davis passed the 1,000- yard rushing barrier in Alford's fi rst three seasons in Ames and finished his career as the No. 2 rusher in school history. During Alford's initial four years in Ames, Iowa State improved from 103rd to 17th nationally in rushing, averaging more than 200 yards per game on the ground in 1999, 2000 and 2002.
In the 2000 regular-season fi nale against Kansas, Haywood and Wagner each topped 100 yards rushing. Alford's backs take care of the football. Iowa State running backs have lost only 13 fumbles in Alford's eight years at ISU. That includes all rushes, receptions and returns by ISU running backs under Alford. Those 13 lost fumbles during Alford's last 95 ISU games came among a total of 3,001 "touches" for 13,721 yards. That is an average of 231 carries, receptions or returns between fumbles lost and only one fumble lost for every 1,056 yards.
Alford, a former all-Western Athletic Conference running back who was a Doak Walker Award nominee, was running backs coach on Washington's 2001 Holiday Bowl squad. Under Alford, Husky tailback Willie Hurst became the ninth back in Washington history to rush for more than 2,000 career yards.
Alford earned honorable mention honors at Colorado State on USA Today's 1989 All-America team and was named to the WAC fi rst-team all-conference squad. The 1992 CSU graduate with a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science set a conference single-game rushing record with 310 rushing yards against Utah and was nominated for the 1989 Doak Walker Award. Alford went on to play for the NFL's Denver Broncos in preseason action and the Birmingham Fire of the World League prior to entering the coaching profession.
Alford was the running backs coach at Mt. Union College in 1995 and at Kent in 1996. He helped the Raiders to a 12-1 record and the NCAA Division III semifi nals.
He has also served as an assistant coach at high schools in Lake Wales, Fla., and Fort Collins, Colo. Alford and his wife Trina have three sons (Rylan, Kyler,