CLEMSON, S.C. — Head Coach Dabo Swinney formally announced today that C.J. Spiller has been named as Clemson’s running backs coach. The hire was officially approved by the Clemson University Board of Trustees Compensation Committee on Thursday.
Spiller assumes leadership of Clemson’s running backs, a role previously held by Tony Elliott, who now assumes the title of Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach.
“[Spiller] is one of the greatest ambassadors that we’ve had for our program for a long time and now for him to be able to come back and be able to sow seeds into these young men and teach all the things he’s learned throughout his career, there’s not a guy on this staff that’s more committed and more ALL IN for Clemson than C.J. Spiller, that’s for sure,” Swinney said. “To have C.J. out on the road recruiting and have him leading these young men day in and day out is something I’m really, really excited about, and I can’t wait to see him take the field this spring leading that group.”
Spiller joins Clemson’s staff on a full-time basis after joining the program as an unpaid coaching intern in 2020 while pursuing his Master’s degree in athletic leadership. Prior to entering the coaching ranks, Spiller was one of the most decorated players in Clemson history, earning selection last month for induction in the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
“I’m definitely excited for this job and express my gratitude to Coach Swinney, Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich and the Board of Trustees, and I thank them for trusting me with the opportunity to have an impact on these young men’s lives and represent our university in a first-class manner,” Spiller said. “It doesn’t happen very often that you’re able to coach at your alma mater, especially in your first gig, and for me to have that opportunity, I don’t take it lightly. I’m just ecstatic about getting started.”
Spiller’s historic Clemson playing career covered 2006-09, including a senior campaign in which won ACC Player of the Year and was a unanimous first-team All-American en route to finishing sixth in Heisman Trophy voting. That year, he joined Reggie Bush as the only players in college football history with 3,000 rushing yards, 1,500 yards in kickoff returns, 1,000 receiving yards and 500 yards in punt returns. He becomes the fourth Clemson graduate among the Tigers’ 10 full-time assistant coaches, joining Brandon Streeter (1999), Tony Elliott (2002) and Tyler Grisham (2009).
Following the collegiate career for which his No. 28 was retired at Clemson, Spiller was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 9 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. He played eight NFL seasons with the Bills, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs and was a Pro Bowl selection in 2012. He and college teammate Jacoby Ford remain the only Clemson products ever to record multiple rushing touchdowns, multiple receiving touchdowns and multiple kick return touchdowns during an NFL career.
Spiller, 33, is a 2009 graduate of Clemson, earning his undergraduate degree in sociology. He is married to his wife, Daysha, and has one daughter, Shania.
Spiller’s hire as one of Clemson’s 10 full-time assistant coaches was among several staff changes for the 2021 football season finalized on Thursday, as Clemson’s recent success resulted in six support staff members departing for full-time coaching positions following the 2020 season. A full list of additional changes for Clemson’s football staff is included below.
GRADUATE ASSISTANT ADDITIONS
FULL COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH DABO SWINNEY
“I’m super excited about C.J. moving on the field and being our running backs coach. He’s one of the greatest ambassadors that we’ve had for our program for a long time and now for him to be able to come back and be able to sow seeds into these young men and teach all the things he’s learned throughout his career, there’s not a guy on this staff that’s more committed and more ALL IN for Clemson than C.J. Spiller, that’s for sure.
“This is a really cool moment for me. It’s hard for me to believe — I’ve known C.J. now since 2005 and really coming full circle with him coming here as a player and helping build the foundation of this program we enjoy today. Watching him all through his pro career and then him coming back and transitioning this past year and wanting to spend the year learning coaching, it was the right opportunity and the right time. Man, I’m just really, really, excited, and Tony [Elliott] is excited as well. Tony has loved coaching running backs, but it was an easy transition for him since he can coach anything in the room. A great fit for us.
“To have C.J. out on the road recruiting and have him leading these young men day in and day out is something I’m really, really excited about, and I can’t wait to see him take the field this spring leading that group.”