Ben Sirmans enters his fifth NFL season as an assistant coach in 2016 and his first with Green Bay as the team’s running backs coach. He previously spent four seasons with the St. Louis Rams after 16 seasons in the college ranks.
Named to his position on Feb. 17, 2016, by Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Sirmans will take over a young group that ranked 12th in the NFL last season with an average of 115.6 rushing yards per game. Sirmans was part of a staff that helped the Rams finish seventh in rushing offense in 2015 (122.3 ypg).
Sirmans joined the Packers after spending four seasons (2012-15) with the Rams and establishing himself as a strong developer of young backs. In each of the last three seasons, Sirmans coached a rookie RB who led the team in rushing. In 2015, Sirmans tutored first-round pick Todd Gurley, who led all rookies and finished third among all NFL runners in rushing yards with 1,106 yards (4.8 avg.) to become the first Rams rookie to rush for 1,000-plus yards since Hall of Famers Jerome Bettis (1993) and Eric Dickerson (1983). Named Offensive Rookie of the Year by The Associated Press and earning Pro Bowl honors, Gurley was the first rookie in NFL history to rush for 125-plus yards in four consecutive games (finished with five total), and his 566 yards rushing were the most in a player’s first four starts in the Super Bowl era.
Under Sirmans’ direction in 2014, third-round selection Tre Mason ran for a team-high 765 yards in 12 games and finished second in rushing among all rookies. In 2013, fifth-round pick Zac Stacy started the final 12 games of the season and rushed for 973 yards, the third-highest total by a rookie at that point in team history. In 2012, Sirmans guided veteran Steven Jackson to his eighth consecutive 1,000-yard season as he became just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in eight or more seasons.
Sirmans spent five seasons (2011-2007) as running backs coach at Boston College, where he mentored the school’s all-time leading rusher, Montel Harris. In 2011, Harris became the school’s career rushing leader and was named the 2011 ACC Preseason Player of the Year before a knee injury ended his season prematurely. Harris received first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 2010 after rushing for 1,243 yards on 269 carries (4.6 avg.) and eight touchdowns. Harris finished his junior campaign 126 yards shy of the all-time school rushing record, as well as the active ACC rushing leader with 3,600 yards, the most ever recorded by a junior in the ACC.
In 2007, Sirmans helped RB Andre Callender set a BC single-season record for receptions (76), earning him All-ACC second-team honors. Callender led the ACC in yards from scrimmage with 1,709 and set a single-season ACC record for most pass receptions by a running back. The 2007 Eagles began the season 8-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country en route to finishing 11-3, the first BC team to win 11 games since 1940.
Prior to his time at Boston College, Sirmans coached running backs at Michigan State in 2005, where the Spartans finished 20th in the nation in rushing (201.8 ypg). In 2006, he coached special teams as well as the running backs.
Sirmans spent five seasons (2000-04) coaching at Kent State, where he tutored the running backs. In 2001 and 2002, the team ran for 215 yards per game, finishing 13th and 15th nationally in rushing production those two seasons. In 2004, Kent State scored 30.5 points per game, the second-highest mark in school history.
Sirmans began his coaching career at his alma mater, the University of Maine, serving as running backs coach and recruiting coordinator from 1996-1999. As a four-year letterman and starter, Sirmans was a running back under current Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz for three years (1990-92). He ran for 1,214 yards, earning all-conference and All-New England honors his senior year. He graduated from Maine in 1993 with a degree in physical education, health and recreation.
Born in East Orange, N.J., Sirmans is married to the former Letia Thompson. The couple has a son, Marcus, 7.