With only six days left until the 2016 Michigan football season starts, we look back at Tyrone Wheatley. The Inkster, Michigan native had an outstanding playing career that has got him to his Michigan coaching position today. Below are his highlights and achievements:
- Wheatley earned the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Award during the 1992 football season.
- In the Michigan Wolverines’ post-season bowl game, he was named the Most Valuable Player for his performance in the team’s Rose Bowl victory.
- Wheatley continued his track success as well, earning first-team All-Big Ten Conference and All-American honors.
- He ranks among the Wolverines’ all-time rushing leaders in numerous categories, and his name appears in several places in the Big Ten football record book.
- He was named to All-Big Ten teams in football and track and field a total of four times, and he earned portions of seven Big Ten championships (two team awards for football, one team award for indoor track, one award for 110 meter hurdles, and three awards for individual football statistical performances).
- Big Ten Ofrfensive Player of the Year (1992)
- 3× First-team All-Big Ten (1992–1994)
- 2× Big Ten champion (1991, 1992)
- All-American (hurdles, 1995)
- Wheatley was selected by the New York Giants of the NFL in the first round of the 1995 NFL Draft.
- As a running back for the Giants, he was the team’s all-purpose yards leader in 1996 and their leading ballcarrier in 1997.
- He was traded to the Miami Dolphins, but cut before the 1999 season began. He signed with the Oakland Raiders and flourished, leading the team in rushing three times and twice finishing among the NFL’s top ten players in rushing touchdowns.
- With Wheatley, the Raiders went to the playoffs three years in a row, including one Super Bowl appearance. During his NFL career (1995–2004), he totaled over 6,500 all-purpose yards as a running back and kickoff returner.
- Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts: 1,270
Rushing yards: 4,962
Rushing touchdowns: 40
Receiving yards: 900
Receiving touchdowns: 7
Kickoff return yards: 705
- After retiring from the NFL, Wheatley returned to his hometown to coach his high school alma mater, Dearborn Heights’ Hamilton J. Robichaud High School, where he had previously made a name for himself as a nine-time Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) state champion athlete.
- As a player, he had led the school to its only state football championship. In 2007, during his first year as head football coach, his team rebounded from an 0–9 record to compile a 9–2 record, reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1994.
- He coached at Ohio Northern University in 2008, and in 2009 he became an assistant coach for Eastern Michigan University.
- He served as the running backs coach for the Syracuse Orange football team from 2010 to 2012. He was hired by the Buffalo Bills to coach the running backs in 2013.
- Coaching career: Dearborn Heights (MI) Robichaud HS 2007, Ohio Northern (RB) 2008, Eastern Michigan (RB) 2009, Syracuse (RB) 2010–2012, Buffalo Bills (RB) 2013–2014, Michigan (RB) 2015–present