Football adds an assistant

Eastern Michigan University coach Ron English has announced the addition of Doug Downing to the coaching staff.

Downing, 44, will coach the running backs after being an assistant at Division II University of Findlay of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference last season.

He has previous stops at the University of Toledo (2001-08), Southwest Missouri State (1999-00) and then Division I-AA Western Illinois (1990-98).

Downing takes over for Tyrone Wheatley, who joined Syracuse as the running backs coach. Wheatley, a former University of Michigan star and NFL 10-year veteran, was the football and boys track coach at Dearborn Heights Robichaud High School in 2006 and 2007.

During his Toledo stretch, Downing coached future NFL running backs Chester Taylor and Jalen Parmale along with punter Brett Kern. A native of Lafayette, Ind., Downing was the top-ranked quarterback in the nation by Parade magazine as a high school senior at Jefferson High School.

He stayed in the Lafayette community to become a standout quarterback for the hometown Purdue Boilermakers, for whom he started at quarterback for two seasons. After graduating from Purdue in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Downing stayed for a two-year stay as a football graduate assistant coach, from 1988-89.

Downing and his wife, Lisa, have two sons, Brian (17) and Adam (15).

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