PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Rutgers head football coach Chris Ash named Lester Erb running backs coach, it was announced today. Erb has over 25 years of coaching experience, including 13 seasons in the Big Ten Conference at Iowa. Erb joins the staff replacing Zak Kuhr, who is pursuing other coaching opportunities.
"I am excited to welcome Lester and his family to Rutgers," said Ash. "Lester is a great football coach and recruiter with proven success in the Big Ten. His experience coaching in this league will be a major asset to the young men in our running backs room."
Erb spent the previous four seasons at Nevada where he served as running backs coach and special teams coordinator from 2013-15 before holding the post of assistant head coach and wide receivers coach in 2016.
In 2015, Erb coached a pair of 1,000-yard running backs en route to a 7-6 record and victory in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. It marked the third time in program history that two running backs topped the 1,000-yard mark in the same season. Nevada averaged 210 rushing yards per game, which ranked in the top 25 in the FBS. Nevada eclipsed 200 yards rushing in eight games and was 7-1 when doing so. In his three seasons coaching running back, the Wolf Pack rushed for nearly 200 yards per game and amassed 23 or more rushing touchdowns in each season.
A standout recruiter throughout his career, Erb was twice recognized by Rivals.com as one of the nation's top-25 recruiters in 2005 and 2011.
Erb spent 13 seasons at Iowa, including the final five years as the running backs coach. He also worked eight seasons as the wide receivers coach and coached special teams throughout his tenure in Iowa City. Overall while at Iowa, Erb and the Hawkeyes went to 11 bowl games, including six January bowl trips during his tenure. They won a share of two Big Ten Championships and finished in the final top 10 of both major polls four times.
In his first season working with the Iowa running backs in 2008, Erb coached Shonn Greene to the Doak Walker Award and consensus All-American honors while being named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten Conference. He rushed for 1,850 yards to set an Iowa single-season rushing mark and was the only running back in the nation to surpass 100 yards in every game during the season.
In 2009, Iowa's two freshmen running backs combined to rush for 1,475 yards and 13 touchdowns as Iowa posted an 11-2 overall record, placing second in the Big Ten and winning the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl.
Erb was also an integral part of special teams in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes led the Big Ten and ranked 25th in the nation in net punting in 2011. The Hawkeyes ranked third in the Big Ten in net punting in 2010 after ranking fourth in 2009, third in 2008 and second in 2007. Iowa allowed just 4.6 yards on punt returns to rank ninth in the nation in 2011. In 2010, Iowa ranked sixth in the nation in punt coverage (3.9) and 12th in kickoff returns (25.3). Senior punter Ryan Donahue was a finalist for the Ray Guy Punter of the Year award in 2010.
Erb coached kicker Nate Kaeding to first team All-America honors in both 2002 and 2003. Kaeding was named winner of the 2002 Lou Groza Placekicker of the Year award and was one of three finalists for the award in 2003.
A coach at the college and NFL levels for more than 20 years overall, Erb's career began in 1991 when he started a three-year tenure at Hobart College coaching wide receivers. He then spent three seasons at Syracuse, where he assisted with the offensive line and scout team preparation while earning a master's degree.
Erb spent two seasons in the National Football League with the Baltimore Ravens where he worked alongside Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. He coached tight ends at Army in 1999 before moving on to Iowa.
Erb played receiver at Bucknell University, where he set records for touchdown receptions in a season and career. He set a school record for average yards per catch in a single game when he averaged 33.7 yards on six catches vs. Fordham. His 902 receiving yards in 1989 ranks second best all-time at Bucknell. He ranks fifth in career all-purpose yards (3,286) and was Bucknell's Most Valuable Player as a senior in 1990.
He earned his B.A. in business administration from Bucknell and his M.A. in high educational administration from Syracuse.
He and his wife, Eileen, have four children, sons Jacob and A.J., and daughters Emily and Sarah.
Hometown: Milton, Pa.
Family: Wife - Eileen, Daughters - Emily and Sarah, Sons - Jacob and A.J.
Education: Bachelor's, Business Administration, Bucknell, 1991.
Master's, High Educational Administration, Syracuse, 1996.
2016: Nevada, Assistant Head Coach/Wide Receivers
2013-15: Nevada, Running Backs/Special Teams
2008-12: Iowa, Running Backs/Special Teams
2000-07: Iowa, Wide Receivers/Special Teams
1999: Army, Tight Ends
1997-98: Baltimore Ravens, Assistant Coach
1994-96: Syracuse, Assistant Coach
1991-93: Hobart College, Wide Receivers