'No place like home': Wayne State football hires Tyrone Wheatley as new head coach

One of the finest athletes to ever come out of the state of Michigan is returning home.

Tyrone Wheatley, a multi-sport standout at Dearborn Heights Robichaud and Michigan Wolverines, has been named the new Wayne State football head coach, the university announced Thursday morning. He is the program's 20th head coach, following the dismissal in December of Paul Winters after 19 years.

A 16-year coaching veteran, including five years in the NFL, Wheatley most recently served as the running backs coach for the Denver Broncos this season, and has previous head coaching experience at Morgan State (2019-21).

"Throughout the interview process, (interim athletic director Erika) Mrs. Wallace showed that Wayne State was well prepared and very detailed in what they wanted in the football program and the direction of the athletic department," Wheatley said in a released statement. "This made me really excited about the job. I am looking forward to coming home, as they always say there is no place like home. No matter where I have been, I've always tried to recruit the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit. I am pleased, honored and blessed to be back home and to coach at Wayne State University."

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"Coach Wheatley has a passion for developing the student-athlete not only on the field, but off," Wallace's statement read. "His ability to mentor men, develop talent, and recruit will elevate our football program. I'm looking forward to watching his leadership as he guides our Warrior student-athletes into a new era."

Wheatley, 51, compiled a 5-18 record, 3-10 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, over two seasons at Morgan State - the Bears did not play in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wheatley earned three consecutive All-Big Ten accolades (1992-94) at Michigan and also competed in track and field.

A native of Inkster, he was the 17th overall pick in the 1995 NFL draft by the New York Giants, and played 10 seasons in the NFL at running back with the Giants and Oakland Raiders, scoring 47 touchdowns.

He was inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

Wheatley has coached since 2007, starting with one season as the head coach at his alma mater Robichaud. He previously has been running backs coach at Ohio Northern (2008), Eastern Michigan (2009), Syracuse (2010-12), the Buffalo Bills (2013-14), Michigan under Jim Harbaugh (2015-16) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-18).

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Tyrone Wheatley hired as Wayne State football head coach


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