Adam Cushing is living with offensive coordinator John Kuceyeski while his family relocates to Charleston from the Chicago area. The temporary roommates spent their nights in late February handling a work activity at home: parsing through candidates for a new running Eastern Illinois backs coach.
After about a two-week process, they found their fit. EIU announced the hiring of Omar Young as running backs coach on Thursday afternoon. He replaces Jayden Everett, who took the same position at Akron last month.
Young spent the last two seasons as an offensive quality control analyst with the Green Bay Packers, working under Mike McCarthy. In 2015, he served as an offensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns, working with running backs. He spent 2016 as an offensive analyst at South Carolina, again focusing on running backs. He served on Colorado’s staff in 2013 and 2014 as a quality control coach.
“He’s learned from some great football minds at the highest level of the NFL and at the Power Five level,” Cushing said.
When Everett left the staff, Cushing and several of his assistants started the search process for a replacement by reaching out to close friends in other coaching circles for some recommendations.
Two of Cushing’s contacts were former Northwestern co-workers: Jim O’Neil, the Oakland Raiders secondary coach who served as a graduate assistant with Cushing at Northwestern from 2003-04, and Northwestern linebackers coach Tim McGarigle. Both recommended Young, who each had overlapped with. O’Neil and Young were former Brown assistants, while McGarigle worked with Young in Green Bay.
“Those were the two guys who could directly speak to how he is to work with and how he is with people,” Cushing said.
Young popped up in recommendations from Kuceyeski’s initial inquiries, as well as cornerbacks coach Benny Boyd’s. Cushing, noting Young’s name surfacing from three unconnected circles, was intrigued. His NFL background added to it. There was another step to pass, though. Cushing was searching for someone with strong teaching skills.
“That’s a real thing especially at the college level,” Cushing said. “The ability to communicate, break things down and make them simple. He really impressed me with how he was able to break down the tasks of a running back to very simple proportions.”
Young arrived in Charleston earlier this week and met with EIU’s running backs, as well as the rest of the staff.
“He’s already here up and running,” Cushing said.