Pepe Pearson returns for his 10th season as the running backs coach for the Panthers. Prior to joining ODU’s coaching staff in its inaugural season of 2004, Pearson served as an assistant coach at St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus for one year.
The Panthers have rewritten the school’s rushing records over the past two seasons as running back Mike Noffsinger was named a Harlon Hill Trophy Candidate as one of the best Division II players in the country. Noffsinger set school single-season and career rushing marks for yards and touchdowns as the Panthers finished 2011 with the best rushing offense in program history. ODU also ranked third in the conference in rushing yards per game.
Pearson, a standout tailback for The Ohio State University, helped lead the Buckeyes to four straight bowl appearances from 1994-1997, including a 1997 Rose Bowl victory. A four-year letter winner for the Buckeyes, Pearson gained 1,484 yards and 17 touchdowns on 299 carries his junior year, and was selected All-Big Ten and team Most Valuable Player (MVP). He is the Buckeyes’ fifth all-time leading rusher with 3,121 yards while playing under former head coach John Cooper.
After completing his college career, Pearson played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Chicago Bears and Pittsburgh Steelers. He also played in NFL Europe, where he won the 2000 World Bowl Championship with the Rhein Fire, scoring the game-winning touchdown.
After Pearson’s decorated playing career came to a close, he jumped into the coaching arena. Pearson was the head coach of the Daytona Beach Hawgs in 2005-2006, formerly of the National Indoor Football League Arena Football Team, and was the Head Coach and General Manager of the Marion Mayhem, a member of the Continental Indoor Football League from 2007-2009. He led his team to the 2009 conference championship with a record of 9-3.
A graduate of The Ohio State University majoring in Sociology, Pearson was a four-year starter and high school All-American at Euclid High School.