vs. Mississippi Valley State
at Arizona State
vs. New Mexico State
Captains Carrier, Bollema provide leadership to running backs, inside linebackers
Apollo Wright, formerly of FIU, hired to coach RBs
Apollo Wright arrived at UNM in February of 2013. He will work with the Lobo running backs.
Wright spent six seasons at Florida International University, the last three as the Panthers' running backs coach. In 2012, Wright worked with a trio of backs who combined to rush for 1,452 yards and 15 touchdowns despite each missing games due to injury.
One of the players was Kedrick Rhodes, who set a school record with 1,149 rushing yards on 234 carries in 2011 and was a second-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection. Twice during the 2011 year, Rhodes carried the ball 30 times, tying for third all-time in a single-game.
Rhodes has seven 100-yard rushing games during his career, which is an FIU record. He had five 100-yard games in 2011.
FIU running back Darriet Perry finished his career in 2011, and under the tutelage of Wright, the veteran established several FIU rushing records. During the 2010 season, Perry scored a school-record 16 rushing touchdowns while the team finished with 26 total scores on the ground. Perry would ultimately finish his collegiate career a year later with 27 touchdowns rushing.
Wright previously served as Florida International's special teams coordinator (2007-11) and helped turn kicker Jack Griffin into one of the nation's finest and a Lou Groza Award semifinalist in 2011. Griffin set school records for extra points and field goals for the Panthers.
Wright's punt return unit, which included future Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, finished No. 1 in the country with an average of 15.93 yards per punt return in 2011.
In 2009, the punt-return unit ranked 18th overall and first among the Sun Belt Conference teams. The Panthers also ranked second in the SBC in kickoff returns and third in net punting. Hilton, who was an '09 Freshman All-America, led the Sun Belt and finished ninth nationally with an average of 14.78 yards per punt return and was also among the national leaders in kickoff-return average.
Wright also coached current Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Anthony Gaitor from 2007-09 at FIU. Gaitor led the Sun Belt Conference with five interceptions in 2008, returning two for TDs.
Prior to arriving at FIU in 2007, Wright served as a member of the Villanova staff for six seasons as running backs coach and spent three years as the Wildcats' special teams coordinator. He played a major role in the performance and development of former NFL All-Pro Brian Westbrook, who rushed for 1,603 yards and 22 touchdowns en route to earning the Walter Payton Award as the Division I-AA National Player of the Year, the Atlantic 10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year and the ECAC Offensive Player of the Year in 2001.
Wright also mentored Wildcats running back Terry Butler, who accumulated 2,080 yards on 464 carries (4.5 avg.) and 17 touchdowns in his four-year collegiate career before spending a brief career with the New York Jets.
Wright's responsibilities at Villanova also included the breakdown of opponent film and serving as the program's pro liaison.
Prior to Villanova, Wright was the secondary coach at LaSalle University from 1999-2000. Besides his duties as secondary coach, Wright was also in charge of the kick and punt return units.
In 1999, he was a graduate assistant at Wagner College, drilling the defensive backs and wide receivers. Wright began his coaching career with his first stint at LaSalle as the assistant defensive backs coach in 1998.
Wright played football for four years at Cheyney (Pa.) University, including two seasons as the starting quarterback. He graduated cum laude with a bachelor's degree in recreation and leisure services in 1998. Wright earned his master's degree in education from Wagner (N.Y.) College in 2001.
The Wright File
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.
Bowl Games: 2011 Beef O'Brady Bowl, 2010 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl