Dave Atkins


Position: Running Backs

Dave Atkins is a pivotal piece to FBU's running back coaching staff. He started his college coaching career at his Alma Mater, the University of Texas-El Paso. He specialized as a running back coach for the University of Texas-El Paso before taking the same job for San Diego State, where he spent the next five years.

In 1986, Atkins changed venues and headed towards Philadelphia to coach for the Eagles. He worked multiple facets of the Eagles' coaching staff during his seven-year stay, including running backs, special teams, and tight ends. In 1993, Atkins joined the New England Patriots as their running back coach. In his only season with the Patriots, New England averaged 111.3 rushing yards per contest, including a 1,088-yard effort by Leonard Russell, who finished second among AFC running backs. Atkins' next step brought him to the Arizona Cardinals, where he was the offensive coordinator. In 1994, the Cardinals led the NFL in time of possession (32:37), and the following year Arizona had one of the league’s best running back duos in FB Larry Centers and RB Garrison Hearst.

In Atkins' first season with the New Orleans Saints, the team ranked eighth in the NFL with a total of 2,068 rushing yards. In 2004, Atkins helped make RB Duece McAllister a pro-bowler with his 1,074 rushing yards. Atkins' impact on the Saints running game from 2000-2004 was evident with the Saints featuring a 1,000 yard rusher in five consecutive seasons, establishing a franchise record. Atkins spent 5 seasons as the New Orleans Saints' running back coach and 21 years of NFL coaching experience, he took the running back coaching job with the Cleveland Browns. In 2005, Atkins worked with Browns RB Reuben Droughns to set a franchise record with 309 carries in a season and rush for 1,232 yards, becoming the first Browns RB to top the 1,000 rushing mark since 1985.

Coaching Career

  • Cleveland Browns (2005-2008)
  • New Orleans Saints (2000-2004, 1996)
  • Minnesota Vikings (1997-1999)
  • Arizona Cardinals (1994-1995)
  • New England Patriots (1993)
  • Philadelphia Eagles (1986-1992)
  • San Diego State University (1981-1985)
  • University of Texas-El Paso (1979-1980)

Career Highlights

  • Minnesota Vikings:  NFC Central Champions (1998)

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