Robert Dennis
Robert Dennis
Title: Assistant Coach, Running Backs
Year: Second Season

The 2017 campaign marks Robert Dennis’ second season as the runnings back coach at Washington University in St. Louis.

2016 was an unprecedented season in the long history of WashU football. The Bears won both the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) and University Athletic Association (UAA) titles, and in doing so secured an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA playoffs for the third time in school history. WashU posted an 8-3 mark, the second most wins in school history

As a group, the running backs averaged 6.1 yards per carry, 11.9 yards per reception, scored 18 touchdowns, and lost one fumble on 330 touches over 11 games. Senior Austin Smestad earned Second-Team CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, and also picked up first-team all-UAA and second-team all-SAA honors. He also tied the school record with 15 touchdowns.

Dennis came to the Danforth Campus folllwing a stint at NAIA national power Missouri Valley College, where he played a role in winning the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC) for a fourth-consecutive year. The Vikings advanced to the national quarterfinals a year ago and finished the season ranked No. 7. 

The following season, Dennis became the head junior varsity coach and running backs coach with the varsity team. Working with Elliot Hawkins, he coached the Viking backfield to dominance on the ground. Hawkins broke a 96-year-old conference and school record by rushing for 319 yards in a single game, and onto a unanimous first-team all-HAAC nod and becoming a second-team USA College All-American selection. Missouri Valley finished third in the nation in yards per carry at 6.8 yards per touch.

He came to Missouri Valley from Gavilan College in California. As the offensive coordinator, Gavilan returned to prominence offensively under his direction. The Rams led the Coast Conference in seven offensive categories, including total passing yards and passing touchdowns. Nine offensive players earned all-conference honors, five of which were named to the All-California team.

Prior to his arrival in Gilroy, Dennis was the running backs coach at Shasta College (Calif.). The Knights led the Bay Valley Conference in rushing for first time in over two decades. His group led the conference in seven rushing categories, including total yards from scrimmage averaging 4.96 yards per carry.

From 1991-97, he was the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks, and defensive backs coach for three California high schools, going 57-23-1 during that time. Dennis worked closely with eight team MVP’s and 19 all-league players. Dennis was apart of the CIF Northern Section Division V title at Biggs Union under 23-year head coach Mike Pena in 1997.

He played at Shasta College, backing up two-time JC Gridwire All-American quarterback Don Trotter, who still holds six school passing records. Dennis was coached by former NFL player Leon Donohue, who started for the Dallas Cowboys in the 1967 NFL Championship known as the “Ice Bowl” verses the Green Bay Packers. He started at quarterback for Enterprise High School in Redding, Calif., finishing fourth in the Northern Athletic League.