Bears Hire Spencer Away From Ohio State

Former OSU running back and current running backs coach Tim Spencer has been hired as the new running backs coach of the NFL's Chicago Bears, the team announced today. The move leaves OSU coach Jim Tressel with a pair of vacancies on his staff.

Late this afternoon, the Chicago Bears announced that new head coach Lovie Smith has hired former OSU running back and current running backs coach Tim Spencer.

The departure of Spencer leaves OSU coach Jim Tressel with a pair of openings on his staff. Defensive coordinator Mark Dantonio was hired as the new head coach at Cincinnati in December.

In restructuring the staff, Tressel was believed to be after a wide receivers coach already.

Here is a release from the Bears on the hiring of Spencer, who worked alongside Smith at OSU in 1995 -- when Eddie George won the Heisman Trophy.

The Chicago Bears announced today that Tim Spencer has been named running backs coach. Spencer joins the Bears following 10 seasons in charge of running backs at the Ohio State University where he mentored Maurice Clarett during the Buckeyes national championship season in 2002 and was Eddie George's position coach when George won the Heisman Trophy in 1995. It was in 1995 when Bears head coach Lovie Smith and Spencer were on the same Buckeyes coaching staff. Smith coached the Ohio State defensive backs.

Spencer, a running back at Ohio State from 1979-82, was the second player taken in the 1983 USFL draft where he played a year each for Chicago (1983), Arizona (1984) and Memphis (1985) before signing with the San Diego Chargers (1985-90) where he was a four-year starter at fullback. He returned to Ohio State in 1990 after retiring from professional football to finish his degree requirements and was named to John Cooper's coaching staff prior to the 1994 season.

During his stay at Ohio State he was part of three Big Ten championship teams (1996, 1998, 2003) and was part of an offensive attack which led the Big Ten in scoring offense and total offense three of his 10 seasons (1995, 1996, 1998). In addition to Clarett (1) and George (2), he produced 1,000-yard rushers six times during his 10-year tenure (Pepe Pearson, 1; Michael Wiley, 1; and Jonathan Wells, 1) including George's school single-season record of 1,927 yards in 1995.

The Buckeyes' starting fullback as a sophomore, he moved to tailback his final two years and led the team in rushing both of those seasons. He closed out his career with 3,553 yards rushing and still ranks third on OSU's all-time rushing list, trailing only Heisman Trophy winners Archie Griffin (5,589) and George (3,768).

Spencer was the Buckeyes' co-captain and MVP as a senior. He also was MVP of the 1982 Holiday Bowl, rushing for 167 yards and two touchdowns in the Buckeyes' 47-17 win over Brigham Young. During his four years at Ohio State, the Buckeyes posted a combined record of 38-10 and played in four bowl games, including the 1980 Rose Bowl.

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