WSU assistant coach Jim Mastro has been nominated for a national running backs coach of the year award

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Washington State assistant coach Jim Mastro got the Cougars’ running game on track this season and coached Jamal Morrow, Gerard Wicks and James Williams to one of the best rushing years in recent WSU history.

So it seems fitting that he’s one of four nominees for the Football Scoop Running BacksĀ Coach of the Year award.

The award guidelines stipulate that coaches must be nominated by a fellow coach, and winners are voted on by previous winners of the award. Mastro was nominated as one of four running backs coaches of the year. His competition: San Diego State’s Jeff Horton, Stanford’s Lance Taylor and Tulsa’s Justin Hill.

Mastro last won the award in 2010, when he was at Nevada. Previous winners in the running backs coach category include new Oregon head coach Willie Taggart, from when he coached running backs at Stanford in 2009 and Frank Wilson from when he was at LSU in 2011.

The winners of the award will be announced in January, and will receive their award at the American Football Coaches Association convention in Nashville, Tenn. from Jan. 8-11.

Under Mastro’s tutelage, Morrow, Wicks and Williams led all Pac-12 running back groups with 31 total touchdowns and 981 receiving yards. As a group, the trio also finished third in the Pac-12 with 2,591 total yards.

Mastro’s name this offseason surfaced as a candidate for the Nevada job that eventually went to Jay Norvell, but he publicly declared that he did not want to leave WSU.

In his five years at WSU, Mastro has been one of the Cougars’ most prolific recruiters. He’s been instrumental in the recruitment of receivers River Cracraft, Kyle Sweet, Gabe Marks and Robert Lewis, running backs Wicks, Williams and Morrow, offensive linemen Noah Osur-Myers and Riley Sorenson and safety Robert Taylor.

Offensively, Mastro’s skill players accounted for 3,161 of WSU’s 4,449 receiving yards, 30 receiving touchdowns, 22 rushing touchdowns and 1,584 rushing yards this season.