|Other Position:||Running Backs Coach|
Norval McKenzie enters his third season in 2018 as Arkansas State's running backs coach and his first as special teams coordinator.
His initial season with the Red Wolves saw the squad post an 8-5 record, win a Sun Belt Conference championship with a 7-1 record and defeat UCF 31-13 in the Cure Bowl. A-State’s primary two backs, sophomore Warren Wand and junior Johnston White, combined to rush for 1,351 yards and 12 touchdowns. Wand accounted for a team-high 879 yards alone, while also posting 24 receptions for 279 yards and three more scores. Following the regular season, he was named Second Team All-Sun Belt Conference as an all-purpose selection.
McKenzie’s second year at A-State saw the team finish with a 7-5 overall record, 6-2 mark in Sun Belt play and make another appearance in a bowl game – the Camellia Bowl. The McKenzie-coached running backs helped the Red Wolves rank No. 10 in the nation in total offense, averaging a school-record 494.8 yards per game. The unit also accounted for 10 combined touchdowns as the team ranked No. 13 in the country in scoring offense with 37.8 points per game.
Like the 2016 season, the 2017 running backs were led by Wand and White as the two combined for 232 rushing attempts for 1,145 yards and nine touchdowns. Spending the two previous seasons under McKenzie, Wand will enter his senior season in 2018 with the 11th most rushing yards (2,303) in school history and 697 shy of becoming the fifth all-time A-State player with 3,000 for a career. White concluded his career with 28 rushing touchdowns, which is the sixth most in school history.
McKenzie came to A-State after spending the previous five seasons as a member of the Furman University coaching staff in a variety of roles, including running backs coach, special teams coordinator and recruiting coordinator.
During his time with the Paladins, McKenzie coached a pair of All-Southern Conference running backs and two others who were named to the league’s All-Freshman Team. Jerodis Williams was a two-time All-SoCon choice after rushing for 2,225 yards and 20 touchdowns over his junior and senior campaigns, in addition to earning All-America honors in 2012 when he led the FCS in kickoff returns (35.9 avg., 2 TDs).
McCloud, who completed his career ranked 10th in Furman rushing history, garnered all-conference recognition in 2013 after running for 1,110 yards and five scores. Triston Luke rushed for 385 yards and a pair of scores in 2015 to find a place on the league’s All-Freshman Team, while Marcus Anderson earned the recognition in 2013 when he posted 334 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
McKenzie helped lead Furman to a 2013 SoCon championship and several victories over FCS nationally-ranked teams, including No. 5 Wofford in 2011. The Paladins also knocked off then-FCS member and No. 3-ranked Appalachian State in 2011.
A Powder Springs, Ga., native and former football standout at McEachern (Ga.) High School, McKenzie was a four-year football letterman for Vanderbilt (2001-04), where he rushed for 1,411 career yards. He battled back from a serious leg injury his sophomore year to lead Vanderbilt in rushing as both a junior and senior.
McKenzie was a rare triple major, earning an undergraduate degree in secondary education, political science, and American history in 2005. He completed his master’s degree in education at Vanderbilt in 2010.
Following graduation, he began his coaching career at Hiram (Ga.) High School, working two seasons there before returning to Vanderbilt as a graduate assistant coach for the 2008 and 2009 campaigns.
The 2008 season saw him help Vanderbilt post its first winning season (7-6) since 1982 and a 16-14 victory over Boston College in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl – the program’s first bowl victory since 1955. McKenzie assumed the duties of assistant recruiting coordinator, while also helping with player development and coordinating the Gridiron Club for former Commodore letter winners, in 2010.
McKenzie is the father of one daughter, Anaya, and he and his wife Amber have a son, Storm.