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BYU assistant coach AJ Steward joins Arizona football staff

BYU running backs coach AJ Steward takes a new post at Arizona

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BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and running backs coach AJ Steward react to a touchdown in the first half against the USF Bulls at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019.

Robert W. Grover, For the Deseret News

PROVO — The University of Arizona football program announced on Friday the hiring of BYU running backs coach AJ Steward.

Steward has been a member of BYU’s staff since the 2018 season, as part of the offensive coaching overhaul headed by the hiring of offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. Steward previously coached at Rice, where he became a graduate assistant in 2012 and running backs coach in 2014.

Steward will coach running backs at Arizona, replacing DeMarco Murray, who recently accepted a coaching position at Oklahoma.

“We couldn’t be happier to be welcoming AJ to the Arizona football family,” said Arizona coach Mike Sumlin. “AJ brings a work ethic and experience that will impact the development of our student-athletes in a very positive way. His passion for the game, passion for making a difference and his recruiting background make him a great fit for our staff.”

Steward was instrumental in bringing in graduate transfer Emmanuel Esukpa and helped develop standout running backs such as Ty’Son Williams, Lopini Katoa and Squally Canada, among others, during his three years in Provo.

“My wife Virginia and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to come to Tucson and make the University of Arizona our home,” Steward said. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to continue my coaching career under someone like coach Sumlin, and I can’t wait to get to work with our young men!” 

Steward took to Twitter to thank BYU for his time there.

Candidates to replace Steward could include current BYU graduate assistant and former Cougar running back Harvey Unga.