Skip to main content
Publish date:

Robert Gillespie -- 2020 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year

FootballScoop is proud to announce that Robert Gillespie is the 2020 FootballScoop Running Backs Coach of the Year presented by AstroTurf as selected by prior winners.

Twenty-seven FBS players averaged at least 100 rushing yards per game, representing 26 teams. North Carolina was the only one with two.

The Tar Heels were paced by Michael Carter, a senior who posted 1,245 yards and nine touchdowns on only 156 carries. His 7.98 yards per carry average was ninth nationally among all ball-carriers and first among all players with comparable carry numbers. Carter set North Carolina's single-season school record by nearly 0.8 yards per rush.

Williams didn't bust the 100-yard mark every week, but when he did he often shattered it. He ran 17 times for 214 yards and two touchdowns in a 56-45 defeat of Virginia Tech on Oct. 10, and he embarrassed Miami by racking up 308 yards and two scores on 24 carries in a 62-26 drubbing of the 'Canes that clinched UNC's first-ever Orange Bowl appearance. The 308 yards were the second most in a single game by a Tar Heel and the fourth most in ACC history. Williams also posted hyper-efficient games with low carry numbers, such as pumping out 78 yards on seven totes versus Syracuse and 73 yards and three touchdowns on eight rushes against Western Carolina.

Not to be outdone, junior Javonte Williams racked up 1,140 yards and a school record-tying 19 touchdowns on 157 attempts.

Williams busted the 100-yard mark six times, including five times in a 6-game stretch, and posted a career high 236 yards and three touchdowns in UNC's 36-point triumph over Miami.

The 544 yards Carter and Williams combined for on that day set an FBS single-game record. It was just the second time in FBS history one teammate rushed for at least 300 yards and another posted 200.

Screen Shot 2021-02-12 at 11.33.00 AM

Williams ran for three touchdowns in four separate games and scored at least once 10 times in 11 games.

As a team, North Carolina rushed for 235.83 yards per game, which ranked 11th in the country. Their 5.75 yards per carry average placed sixth in FBS, and second among all teams with at least 400 attempts. Their 35 touchdowns were the third most in FBS.

That rushing game allowed North Carolina to rank fifth nationally in total offense (537.3 yards per game), third in yards per play (7.59) and ninth in scoring (41.7 points per game).

Carter earned First Team All-ACC honors and Williams was a Second Team All-ACC performer.


A 4-year letterman and team captain at Florida, Gillespie spent two seasons in the NFL before entering coaching as a GA at South Carolina. He was promoted to Steve Spurrier's full-time staff in 2006 and has since coached backs at Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Tennessee in addition to UNC, coaching 10 NFL draft picks and counting along the way. He was hired last month as the running backs coach at Alabama.

"I'm extremely happy to add a coach the caliber of Robert Gillespie to our staff," Nick Saban said. "From his playing days at Florida, to the numerous running backs he has developed throughout his career, Robert has been successful at every stop of his coaching career. He is an excellent teacher, an outstanding recruiter and coaches with great passion and enthusiasm. He is a tremendous addition to our coaching staff, and we look forward to having Robert and his family here at The University of Alabama."

The FootballScoop Coaches of the Year awards presented by AstroTurf are the only set of awards that recognize the most outstanding position coaches in college football. The finalists (Tony Alford [Ohio State], Charles Huff [Alabama], Bruce Johnson [Liberty], Isaac Reed [Buffalo], and Gillespie) were selected based off of nominations by coaches, athletic directors, and athletic department personnel. The prior winners selected this year's winner.

Previous winners of the Running Backs Coach of the Year award are Burton Burns (Alabama, 2008), Willie Taggart (Stanford, 2009), Jim Mastro (Nevada, 2010), Frank Wilson (LSU, 2011), Calvin Magee (Arizona, 2012), Jeff Lebby (Baylor, 2013), Bryan McClendon (Georgia, 2014), Lance Taylor (Stanford, 2015), Jeff Horton (San Diego State, 2016), Tony Elliott (Clemson, 2017), Tim Albin (Ohio, 2018), and Jabbar Juluke (Louisiana, 2019).


11th Nationally - Rushing 

3rd Nationally - Rushing TDs

2nd Nationally - YPC (min. 400 attempts)

Only team with two 1K rushers


Since 1965, the AstroTurf brand has been driven by forward thinking ingenuity. Today AstroTurf continuously improves its system design to deliver playing surfaces with the most realistic, sport-specific performance, longest lasting durability, and sound player protection. For more information please visit


Created in 1999, is the premier source for coaching job information and has long been the most widely viewed website by coaches, athletic directors, strength & conditioning coaches, operations and equipment staff across America. As the leading coaching job information venue, serves our viewers’ needs by providing first hand, timely & accurate information for our audience. is the premier provider of official job postings.