Michael Zyskowski Named Running Backs Coach, Special Teams Coordinator

December 06, 2007
By ODU Athletics

Dec. 6, 2007

Norfolk, Va. - Old Dominion University head football coach Bobby Wilder announced today that Michael Zyskowski has joined the staff as the running backs coach and special teams coordinator. Zyskowski is the fourth member of Wilder's staff to come from the University of Maine where he also served as running back coach and co-special teams coordinator.

"I have known Coach Zyskowski since his playing days at Maine and he earned the respect of the coaches immediately," says Wilder. "He went from a walk-on fullback to a starter and a team captain who led Maine to consecutive championships in 2001 and 2002. He became our running back coach in 2004 and developed two NFL players in Marcus Williams (Indianapolis Colts) and Montell Owens. In 2007 he coached Jhamal Fluellen to all-conference honors in the CAA and became co-special teams coordinator, having a number of accomplishments in that area as well. Coach Zyskowski is a proven recruiter who will make a great impression on student-athletes, parents and coaches. I'm thrilled to have him on our staff at Old Dominion."

In 2006, Zyskowski helped mentor tailback Arel Gordon, who earned Second-Team All-Atlantic 10 honors after ranking seventh in the league in rushing and second in all-purpose yards per game. As a team, the Black Bears finished 33rd nationally out of 119 teams in the FCS in rushing yards per game at 169.6.

In 2005, Zyskowski tutored Montell Owens who was entering his first season as a starter at tailback. Owens became a durable runner for the Black Bears who finished the season with 779 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Owens finished the season ninth in the Atlantic 10 in rushing yards per game and tied for third in rushing touchdowns. In April 2006, Owens signed as a rookie free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars and made the team seeing action in all 16 games during the 2006 season.

In addition to coaching football, Zyskowski also gained important experience in the spring of 2005 as he served as a student-assistant coach for the Black Bear baseball team, which won the America East Tournament championship and qualified for the Oxford Regional in the NCAA Tournament. Zyskowski's younger brother, Josh, was a pitcher on the squad.

Zyskowski, a two-time captain who played fullback, helped lead the way for running back Marcus Williams to rush for 1,284 yards during the 2003 season and eventually into first place in school history for career rushing yards.

"I am excited to get started with building a championship program at Old Dominion," said Zyskowski. I want our special teams to be feared throughout the league. We will look to find great speed at our return positions on punt and kickoff return, and we will attack our opponents. We will also look to have an aggressive block team that attempts to make game-changing plays and win the field position battle. I can't wait to get started."

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