College Football

Morgan State football coach Tyrone Wheatley leaving to be Denver Broncos running backs coach

Morgan State football’s head coach Tyrone Wheatley is leaving the Baltimore university to become the next running backs coach with the Denver Broncos in pursuit of his mission to eventually become a head coach in the NFL.

Wheatley confirmed Monday morning news that he intended to join new Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett in Denver.


“To be back with Coach Hackett and the things that he’s trying to do, I want to be a head coach in the NFL,” Wheatley said. “Now that he’s giving me the opportunity and chance to try to be that, you can’t pass that up.”

In two seasons of competition (the Bears did not play in 2020 due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic), Wheatley compiled a 5-18 overall record and a 3-10 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The program finished in a two-way tie for sixth place among nine teams in 2019 and a two-way tie for last among six teams in 2021.


Wheatley, who turned 50 on Jan. 19, said he joined Morgan State after the 2018 season because of his relationship with Erlease Wagner, the school’s compliance officer and deputy athletic director. He said he has that similar faith in Hackett.

When Wheatley was with Syracuse from 2010 to 2012 as that school’s running backs coach, Hackett was the passing game coordinator and quarterbacks/tight ends coach in 2010 and offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/tight ends coach in 2011 and 2012. When Wheatley coached the running backs for the Buffalo Bills from 2013 to 2014, Hackett was their offensive coordinator for those two years. And when Wheatley served in the same role with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2017 to 2018, Hackett was their offensive coordinator, too.

“In this business, it’s all about the people that you trust and the people that you can trust with your family, that you can basically trust with your livelihood,” Wheatley said. “He and I have done some great things together, and in order for me to grow and in order for me to get to where I want to go professionally, I could trust that guy. I could trust that man because this business is all about relationships.”

Wheatley said he informed the players of his decision during an in-person meeting Saturday morning. He said the pain of telling the team remains fresh.

“It was one of those down-to-the-wire, down-to-the-hour decisions,” he said, adding that his son, junior running back Terius Wheatley, plans to remain with the Bears. “I’m still emotional. I went through some very tough times in my life, but this right here was one of the toughest and hardest things I’ve ever had to do, to look a bunch of young men in the face and tell them that I’m moving on. That’s hard, that’s really hard. It’s not easy.”

Wheatley returns to his roots as a former running back for the New York Giants for four years and the Oakland Raiders for six seasons. He starred at Michigan and was the 17th overall pick by the Giants in the 1995 NFL draft.

Last month, Wheatley was one of four football coaches from historically Black college and universities who participated in the 73rd annual Senior Bowl as part of a new minority coaching fellowship program.

He retired from the NFL after the 2004 season with 1,270 carries for 4,962 yards and 40 touchdowns. Wheatley then turned to coaching, beginning at his alma mater, Dearborn Heights Robichaud High School in Michigan, in 2007. In addition to coaching at the NCAA’s Syracuse and the NFL’s Buffalo and Jacksonville, he has been a running backs coach at Ohio Northern (2008), Eastern Michigan (2009), and Michigan (2015-16).

Advertisement first reported the move.