Ryan Silverfield named Memphis Tigers head football coach

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NEWS RELEASE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS:

Ryan Silverfield has been named head coach of the University of Memphis football program, Memphis Director of Athletics Laird Veatch announced Dec. 13. Silverfield becomes the 25th head coach in Memphis football history and will lead the Tigers in his first game in that role in the Dec. 28 Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic in Dallas, Texas.

This season, Silverfield served as deputy head coach and offensive line coach. as the Tigers won their first outright conference title in 50 years (since 1969). Memphis won the 2019 American Athletic Conference championship Dec. 7 with a 29-24 win over Cincinnati at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The Tigers’ last outright league championship came in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1969.

Silverfield also has been a part of Memphis staff that led the program to three-straight American Athletic Conference West Division crowns from 2017-19 and four-straight bowl appearances from 2016-19. With Silverfield, Memphis has 38 wins the past four seasons, including two 10-plus win campaigns in 2017 (10-3) and 2019 (12-1). He is the only member of the staff to be a part of both 10-plus win seasons.

This season, Silverfield brought along a young offensive line that returned only two starters from 2018, with one of the starters (Dustin Woodard) moving to center as a regular for the first time in his collegiate career. Silverfield molded a line that blocked for fourth-best offense in program history (6,249 yards) and the program’s third-best scoring offense (527 points).

Two of Silverfield’s pupils received all-conference accolades in 2019. Woodard was named to the All-American Athletic Conference second team, and Dylan Parham, his line mate, earned all-league honorable mention recognition. Silverfield’s line blocked for Kenneth Gainwell, The American’s Rookie of the Year and the program’s fifth 1,000-yard rusher all-time (1,425 yards), and also for all-league second team performers in quarterback Brady White, wide receivers Damonte Coxie and Antonio Gibson, and tight end Joey Manifico. White had more than 3,000 yards passing and Coxie posted more than 1,000 yards receiving, both for a second-straight campaign.

Silverfield served as the offensive line coach and run game coordinator in 2018, overseeing the team’s most consistent unit with all five starters playing every game. One year after blocking for an offense that featured consensus All-American wide receiver Anthony Miller and setting a school record for passing touchdowns, the offensive line spent the 2018 season in the trenches blocking for Memphis’ first unanimous All-American in running back Darrell Henderson. Memphis set school records for total yards (2018), points scored (2018), passing touchdowns (2017) and rushing touchdowns (2018).

In four seasons at Memphis, Silverfield has coached five offensive linemen to all-conference honors. Gabe Kuhn (guard) and Trevon Tate (tackle) were first-team honorees in 2017, and Woodard was a first-team pick at guard in 2018 and a second-team selection at center in 2019. Parham was an honorable mention honoree in 2019.

Collectively, Silverfield’s 2018 unit was one of 10 semifinalists for the Joe Moore Award, given to the best offensive line in college football. For his role leading the offensive line, Silverfield was named one of six finalists for the offensive line coach of the year award sponsored by FootballScoop. Silverfield also was recognized as one of the top recruiters in his time at Memphis. In 2017, he was ranked the fourth-best recruiter in The American by 247sports.com.

A 2018 Frank Broyles Award, Silverfield first came to Memphis in 2016 with over 18 years of coaching experience at the high school, college and NFL levels. He remains the only coach to have worked with an NCAA single-season rushing leader and an NFL single-season rushing leader. At UCF, Silverfield helped tutor Kevin Smith when the junior back led college football with 2,567 yards in 2007. Five seasons later in 2012, Silverfield was at Minnesota, where the Vikings’ offensive line paved the way for Adrian Peterson’s 2,097-yard season.

Just prior to coming to Memphis, Silverfield spent the last half of the 2015 football campaign with the NFL’s Detroit Lions. In a mid-season staff shake-up, the Lions brought in Silverfield as an assistant offensive line coach, and the hire paid immediate dividends. His tenure with the Lions was Silverfield’s second stint in the NFL.

Before Silverfield’s arrival, the Lions had a 2-7 record, and, in the three games just before he came on board, Detroit’s offensive line allowed 15 sacks for 105 yards. In the season’s final stretch, Silverfield helped mold an offensive line that propelled the Lions to a 5-2 record. The Lions’ offensive line allowed just over three sacks per game in the last seven contests, and quarterback Matthew Stafford thrived behind Silverfield’s new-look offensive line. In the seven games with Silverfield on staff, Stafford threw 17 touchdowns and only one interception. Prior to that, Stafford had 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

Preceding his 2015 mid-season jump to the NFL, Silverfield was a senior offensive analyst on head coach Todd Graham’s Arizona State staff. In his short time in Tempe, Ariz., the Sun Devils posted a 5-5 record on their way to a final 6-6 regular-season mark and a Motel 6 Cactus Bowl berth.

Silverfield served as an offensive consultant at Toledo in 2014 and helped the Rockets to a 9-4 overall record and a 7-1 Mid-American Conference (MAC) mark. Toledo tied for the MAC West crown and earned a GoDaddy.com Bowl berth. The Rockets’ nine wins were the most since 2001, and Toledo’s 63-44 bowl victory over Arkansas State was its first postseason win since 2011.

The Rockets’ offensive line helped put one of the most prolific offensive seasons in Toledo football record book. The 2014 Rockets offense set school records for total offense, total rushing yardage and first downs per game and also ranked among the program’s top-five in points per game (2nd), touchdowns scored (3rd) and rushing touchdowns (3rd).

Leading the charge on Silverfield’s offensive line was Greg Mancz, the 2014 Vern Smith Award/MAC Player of the Year award recipient. Mancz, also an All-America second team selection, became the first offensive lineman in MAC history to be honored as the league’s Player of the Year. Fellow linemen Josh Hendershot and Jeff Myers joined Mancz in earning All-MAC recognition.

Toledo’s offensive line proved fruitful for the 2014 Rockets’ attack. Toledo led the MAC in scoring offense, total offense, rushing offense and first downs. Rockets running back Kareem Hunt led the MAC in rushing (1,631 yards) and was tops in the nation in yards per carry (8.0). Hunt was an All-MAC first team pick and also earned GoDaddy.com Bowl MVP honors (271 yards/5 touchdowns).

Before jumping back to the collegiate ranks, Silverfield spent six seasons on the Minnesota Vikings staff. In his time in Minnesota, Silverfield helped the Vikings to two NFC North Division crowns and three NFL playoffs appearances, including a trip to the 2009 NFC championship game. Silverfield began his Vikings’ stint as an offensive quality control staffer, before moving to a defensive line staff assistant in 2009 and 2010. He moved to the offensive side from 2011-13, assisting Jeff Davidson with the offensive line.

It was in the midst of his three years working with the Minnesota offensive line that Peterson had one of the most-prolific, single-season rushing performances in NFL history. In 2012, Peterson ran for a league-best 2,097 yards, falling just eight yards shy of Eric Dickerson’s NFL record of 2,105. Peterson was named the 2012 NFL MVP.

Prior to his time in the NFL, Silverfield spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons at UCF. In his two campaigns in Orlando, Fla., he served as an offensive graduate assistant his first season and moved to a defensive graduate assistant spot in 2007. Silverfield was a member of the 2007 Knights staff that led the squad to a 10-4 record, a 7-1 Conference USA mark and the C-USA East Division crown. UCF defeated Tulsa – with Norvell on staff – in the C-USA championship game and earned the league’s AutoZone Liberty Bowl berth.

As an offensive graduate assistant, Silverfield worked with Smith in 2006. That season – Smith’s sophomore campaign – he rushed for 934 yards in only nine games, setting up his explosive junior – and NCAA rushing champion – season in 2007. In his season working with the Knights defense, UCF ranked among the top-four in C-USA in scoring defense, rushing defense, passing defense and turnovers forced. The Knights held half of their opponents to 20 or fewer points in the 2007 campaign.

The season prior to his time at UCF (2005), Silverfield served as the quarterbacks coach at Jacksonville University. In 2004, at the age of 23, Silverfield was named the head coach at Memorial Day High School in Savannah, Ga.

A 2003 Hampden-Sydney College (Va.) graduate, Silverfield coached four seasons at his alma mater, starting as an offensive assistant in 2000. Then, at age 20, he was tapped as the Tigers defensive line coach and spent two seasons at that post (2001-02). In 2003, Silverfield moved back to offense and coached the tight ends and H-backs. That season, the Tigers went 9-1 and had the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense in the country (47.0 ppg). Hampden-Sydney scored 45 or more points in seven of its 10 games in 2003.

Silverfield started coaching in 1999 at his alma mater, The Bolles School in Jacksonville, Fla. He played for the Bulldogs and was a member of two Florida state championship teams (1995, 1998). During his playing career, Silverfield helped Bolles to a No. 1 ranking in the USA Today Super 25 national high school football poll. Immediately after his playing career, Silverfield jumped to the coaching ranks as a Bolles School assistant in 1999.

Silverfield and his wife, Mariana, live in Collierville.

From the Memphis Tigers Athletics bio on Silverfield:

In the 2019 season, Silverfield served as deputy head coach and offensive line coach. Silverfield was a member of the coaching staff that led the Tigers to the program’s first outright conference title since 1969. Memphis won the 2019 American Athletic Conference championship Dec. 7 with a 29-24 win over Cincinnati at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium. The Tigers’ last outright league championship came in the Missouri Valley Conference in 1969.

Silverfield also has been a part of Memphis staffs that led the program to three-straight American Athletic Conference West Division crowns from 2017-19 and four-straight bowl appearances from 2016-19. With Silverfield, Memphis has 38 wins the past four seasons, including two 10-plus win campaigns in 2017 (10-3) and 2019 (12-1). He is the only member of the staff to be a part of both 10-plus win seasons.

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Read more on Silverfield HERE.

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