Iowa State running backs coach Kenith Pope, enters his fourth season at Iowa State riding the proven results of his Cyclone running backs. In 2009, his first fall at Iowa State, running back Alexander Robinson became the 12th Cyclone back to reach 1,000 yards rushing (1,058) and ranked third in the Big 12 in rushing. Robinson dodged injuries in 2010 but still managed to tally nearly 1,000 rushing yards. He finished his career with 3,309 rushing yards, ranking fourth in Iowa State history. His all purpose yards total of 4,114 yards ranks third.
Pope's coaching experience is extensive. He came to Iowa State after formerly serving as the assistant head coach at Alabama and Texas A&M.
With Robinson having graduated, Pope's focus was on Iowa State sophomores James White and Shontrelle Johnson in 2011. White made a big splash, earning honorable mention All-Big 12 honors by rushing 743 yards on 159 carries and eight touchdowns. Johnson racked up 51 carries for 247 yards before a season-ending injury in the fourth game of the season. Fullback Jeff Woody rushed for 381 yards on 90 carries and six touchdowns, including the game-winning jaunt for the touchdown that gave the Cyclones a 37-31 victory in the second overtime against No. 2 Oklahoma State.
In total, Pope has coached in 17 bowl games in more than three decades of collegiate coaching. His most recent post season trips were to the Insight Bowl with Iowa State in 2009 and the 2011 New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York las December. Pope's experience includes two Cotton Bowls, two Holiday Bowls and three Sun Bowls. He has also mentored 17 players who have gone on to the NFL, including Jason Carter (Carolina Panthers), Terrence Murphy (Green Bay Packers), Jason McAddley (Washington Redskins) and Jamaar Taylor (New York Giants); he formerly tutored two 2009 NFL draft picks: Mike Goodson (4th round - Carolina Panthers) and Frank Summers (5th round - Pittsburgh Steelers). Pope has played and coached for some of the biggest names in college football history, including Barry Switzer at Oklahoma, Jackie Sherrill at Mississippi State, Howard Schnellenberger at OU and Dennis Franchione at TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M.
Pope coached at UNLV in 2008 after five years as the assistant head coach at Texas A&M. He previously oversaw the Aggie running backs his last two seasons in College Station, Texas and tutored the Aggies’ wide receivers in the 2003, 2004 and 2005 campaigns. During Pope’s time at Texas A&M, he was a part of a staff that recruited five classes ranked in the top 20 nationally, including three among the top 10. Texas A&M played in the 2005 Cotton Bowl, the 2006 Holiday Bowl and the 2007 Alamo Bowl during Pope’s tenure in College Station, Texas.
Pope served as assistant head coach/receivers coach at Alabama in 2001-02, where at one point, the Crimson Tide won 14 of 17 games. In 2002, Alabama posted a 10-3 record, the best mark in the SEC West. The Tide was second in the conference in total offense that season with Pope serving as assistant head coach and wide receivers coach. At TCU (from 1998-2000), Pope was on the coaching staff that produced a 25-11 record after being 1-10 in 1997. Pope coached at Oklahoma (1995-97), Mississippi State (1991-94), Oklahoma State (1987-90), SMU (1981-86) and Lamar (1979-80). He started his coaching career in 1977 at Hebert High School in Beaumont, Texas.
A defensive back at Oklahoma, Pope earned his bachelor’s degree from the school in 1976. During his Sooner playing career, OU went 29-5-1 and won two straight Sugar Bowls. His senior season, Oklahoma went 10-0-1, won the Big Eight championship and Pope played in the Blue-Gray Classic and the American Bowl. He was a ninth-round choice by the Oakland Raiders in the 1974 NFL draft and played that season with the New England Patrioits.
Pope, a native of Galveston, Texas, is married to the former Pam Armstrong of Beaumont, Texas. They have three godchildren, Jordan Awadalla, Geneva Lathan and Shaina Hall.