Eric Bieniemy
refer to caption
Bieniemy with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021
Kansas City Chiefs
Position:Offensive coordinator
Personal information
Born: (1969-08-15) August 15, 1969 (age 53)
New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Height:5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight:205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Bishop Amat Memorial
(La Puente, California)
NFL Draft:1991 / Round: 2 / Pick: 39
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player
As coach
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts:387
Rushing Yards:1,589
Rushing TDs:11
Player stats at · PFR
Coaching stats at PFR

Eric M. Bieniemy Jr. (born August 15, 1969) is an American football coach and former running back who is the offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs. He played college football for the Colorado Buffaloes and was recognized as a consensus All-American. He was selected by the San Diego Chargers in the second round, 39th overall, of the 1991 NFL Draft.[1] He also played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles.

After his playing career ended, Bieniemy returned to Colorado, where he served as their running backs coach. He served as the offensive coordinator at Colorado before becoming the running backs coach of the Chiefs. As a running backs coach in the NFL, he coached Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles, who made a combined seven pro bowls in eight seasons, as their running backs coach.

Early years

Bieniemy was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. He lettered in football and track and field at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, California, earning second-team All-America honors in football as a senior when he rushed for 2,002 yards and 30 touchdowns.[2]

College career

Bieniemy was heavily recruited out of high school and chose to attend the University of Colorado Boulder. He was the nation's second leading rusher with the Buffaloes in 1990 with 1,628 yards, along with 17 touchdowns, and finished third in the Heisman Trophy balloting behind BYU's Ty Detmer (the winner) and Notre Dame's Raghib Ismail.[3] Bieniemy is Colorado's all-time leader in rushing (3,940 yards), all-purpose yards (4,351), and touchdowns (42).[4]

Nicknamed "Scooter" and wearing No. 1, Bieniemy earned consensus All-America honors in 1990 as part of Colorado's national championship team. He was a two-time first-team all Big-Eight performer, in 1988 and 1990, earning the conference's offensive Player of the Year honor as a senior. As a junior, he was named to CU's prestigious 25-member "All-Century Football Team," the only active player at the time to be selected to the group honoring the first 100 years of Colorado Buffalo football.[citation needed]

Professional career

Bieniemy played from 1991 through 1999, and finished his career with 1,589 yards rushing, 1,223 yards receiving, 276 yards returning punts, 1,621 yards on kickoff returns, and 12 touchdowns (11 rushing and one kickoff return) while playing for the San Diego Chargers, Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles. ESPN broadcaster Chris Berman gave him the nickname "Eric 'sleeping with' Bieniemy", in reference to the 1991 film Sleeping with the Enemy.[5]

Coaching career

Early college jobs

Bieniemy returned to Colorado to complete his degree and was the running backs coach for the Buffaloes from 2001 to 2002 and was UCLA running back coach from 2003 to 2005, as well as the team's recruiting coordinator in 2005.[6]

Minnesota Vikings

Following UCLA's 2005 Sun Bowl victory, Bieniemy accepted a position as running backs coach for the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL. During his time as the Vikings running back coach, his leading rusher Adrian Peterson, led the NFC in rushing with 1,341 yards in 2007 and also in 2008 with 1,760 yards, which was also top in the NFL. On July 26, 2010, Bieniemy was also named the Vikings' assistant head coach for the offense.[7]

Return to Colorado

On December 2, 2010, Bieniemy returned to Colorado as offensive coordinator under new head coach Jon Embree. In 2020, Bieniemy was offered the head coach position at Colorado but declined.[8]

Kansas City Chiefs

In 2013, Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid hired Bieniemy to be the running backs coach. Reid was familiar with Bieniemy as Reid had coached him on the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2018, Reid promoted Bieniemy to offensive coordinator to succeed Matt Nagy who had been hired as the head coach of the Chicago Bears.[9] In Bieniemy's first season as the Chiefs offensive coordinator, the Chiefs were first in the NFL in yards per game and points scored.[8] The Chiefs scored the third-most points in a season in NFL history with 565. Additionally, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes became the second quarterback in NFL history, along with Peyton Manning, to throw for 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season.[10] The Chiefs reached the 2018 AFC Championship Game where they lost to the New England Patriots. In 2019, Bieniemy won his first Super Bowl when the Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31–20 in Super Bowl LIV.

Bieniemy has been a primary head coaching candidate since the 2019 offseason, and he has been a commonly noted example within the large amounts of criticism over how few league owners were hiring minority candidates. Since the 2019 offseason, Bieniemy has had interviews and interview requests from 17 teams in the entire league — Bengals, Dolphins, Jets, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Panthers, Browns, Giants, Falcons, Lions, Texans, Jaguars, Chargers, Eagles, Broncos, Saints and Colts — but has yet to be hired by any organization.[11]

Legal issues

As a player at Colorado, Bieniemy was arrested along with teammate Kanavis McGhee following a February 1988 bar fight. McGhee said the dispute arose after Bieniemy alleged that he had been called a "little n*gger" by a bar patron.[12] He pleaded no contest to disorderly conduct and fighting in public, and was sentenced to community service.[12] He also received discipline from head coach Bill McCartney.[12]

In 1989, Bieniemy was ticketed in Westminster, Colorado for driving a defective vehicle, and in Aurora, Colorado for speeding. In October 1990, Bieniemy's license was suspended for a year after another traffic violation. On March 21, 1991, Bieniemy was caught speeding and driving with suspended license on I-70 near Rifle, Colorado, going 92 mph in a 65 mph zone. On April 17, 1991, Bieniemy failed to appear in court on charges relating to the March 21 incident. A bench warrant was issued in Colorado for his arrest on April 23, 1991, two days after he was drafted in the 1991 NFL Draft.[13]

On July 4, 1990, Bieniemy pleaded no contest to interfering with a firefighter who had been performing his duties to extinguish a fire in Bieniemy's mother's garage.[13] Bieniemy received an eight-month suspended sentence[14] and was suspended for one game.[15] Bieniemy was instructed to do 40 hours of community service and attend an eight-hour firefighting training session.[13] An assistant city attorney said Bieniemy failed to attend the firefighting training session as stipulated in the plea agreement, but Bieniemy asserted the session was optional.[13]

On September 27, 1993, Bieniemy was arrested in Boulder, Colorado, for allegedly harassing a female parking attendant. According to the police report, while with his friends, Bieniemy put his hand on the attendant's neck, startling her. She told police ,"[14] that Bieniemy and his friends took off their pants and began urinating nearby. Bieniemy was also named in an outstanding warrant on a charge of driving with a suspended license. As a result of this incident, Bieniemy was banned from the University of Colorado Boulder campus for one year.[6][16]

In April 2001, Bieniemy was arrested for driving under the influence and was docked a month's pay.[17]

Personal life

Bieniemy and his wife, Mia, have two sons, Eric III and Elijah.[4] His nephew, Jamal, plays basketball at UTEP.[18] He also is a member of Omega Psi Phi.


  1. ^ "1991 Draft". Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  2. ^ Robb, Sharon (December 25, 1989). "Colorado's Bieniemy Puts Problems in Past". South Florida Sun Sentinel. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  3. ^ 1990 Heisman Trophy Voting
  4. ^ a b "Eric Bieniemy". Archived from the original on March 7, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  5. ^ Polson, Chris (September 8, 2010). "Ten of the Best Chris Berman Football Nicknames". Bleacher Report. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Bach, Jessica; Tran, Bruce (April 5, 2004). "Football: Bieniemy to likely face questioning". Daily Bruin. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  7. ^ "Vikings promote RB coach Bieniemy". July 26, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010.
  8. ^ a b Eric Bieniemy is ready to be a head coach. Which NFL team will finally take him?
  9. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (January 9, 2018). "Chiefs promote Eric Bieniemy to offensive coordinator".
  10. ^ Lund, Spencer. "Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes Becomes 2nd Ever to Throw 50 TDs and 5,000 Yards in a Season". Retrieved January 20, 2020.
  11. ^ "Colts announce they have interviewed Eric Bieniemy for open head coach position".
  12. ^ a b c Reilly, Rick (February 27, 1989). "What Price Glory?". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  13. ^ a b c d "Newest Charger on the Run : Colorado Warrant for Bieniemy's Arrest Is Latest Brush with Law". Los Angeles Times. April 23, 1991. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  14. ^ a b "Chargers' Bieniemy Arrested". Orlando Sentinel. September 27, 1993. Retrieved December 14, 2020.
  15. ^ "Colorado tailback suspended for alteraction". UPI. July 24, 1990.
  16. ^ "Lawrence Journal-World - Google News Archive Search". Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  17. ^ "Eric Bieniemy Arrested in DUI Case". AP NEWS. Retrieved January 13, 2021.
  18. ^ "Jamal Bieniemy player profile".