010620_dnr_MerrittArt

Former James Madison running backs coach Matt Merritt instructs a drill during a practice in October at Bridgeforth Stadium.

James Madison is in the market for a new running backs coach.

On Tuesday, the Daily News-Record confirmed Matt Merritt, the Dukes’ running backs coach for the last two years, is leaving for the same job at FBS Central Florida.

JMU coach Curt Cignetti said: “Matt Merritt did an outstanding job for us at Elon and JMU. We wish him and his wife Brittany nothing but the best and thank them for their contributions the past four years.”

Merritt followed Cignetti from Elon to JMU when Cignetti took the gig in December of 2018.

In 2019, Merritt coached Dukes running backs Percy Agyei-Obese and Jawon Hamilton to All-Colonial Athletic Association honors. Agyei-Obese tallied 1,216 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns while Hamilton had 919 yards and five scores on the ground.

Prior to linking up with Cignetti, Merritt worked at Division II Ohio Dominican and had been a graduate assistant at Ohio State.

The job at UCF opened last month when its running back coach Anthony Tucker departed to join the staff at Utah State, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

FootballScoop.com was first to report Merritt’s move.

He is the first JMU assistant to leave since the FBS offseason began. In December, the school inked offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery and defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman to two-year contract extensions. JMU opens its spring slate on Feb. 20 against Morehead State.

Contact Greg Madia at 574-6296 or gmadia@dnronline.com

Follow Greg on Twitter: @Madia_DNRSports

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