Veteran offensive coach comes to Nevada from Iowa.
A key hire for the Brian Polian's staff in year one was someone to coordinate Nevada's special teams and take over guidance of the running backs in the Pistol offense. Brian Polian found his man in Lester Erb, a veteran coach with more than a dozen years of experience at the BCS level.
Erb's second season with the Wolf Pack should be highlighted by the return of a one-two punch at running back and the sophomore season of Brent Zuzo, who emerged as one of the top kickers in the conference last season as a true freshman.
Senior Kendall Brock and junior Don Jackson return in the backfield for Erb and the Pack with senior Nate McLaurin also in the mix. Two highly touted freshman running backs - Blake Wright and James Butler - could also push for time. Zuzo returns after a splendid freshman campaign in which he connected on the first 11 field goal attempts of his career and finishing 14-of-17 (82.4 percent). He also helped Nevada to one of the better kick coverage units in the Mountain West, averaging 61.3 yards on kickoffs with 22 touchbacks.
Erb and the Pack will have to find a replacement for Chase Tenpenny at punter, who had one of the top seasons in school history last season with an average of 44.5 yards per punt. He's moved on to the NFL with San Diego Chargers to open 2014.
Erb spent the last 13 seasons at Iowa, including the last five years as the running backs coach. He also worked eight seasons as the wide receivers coach and coached special teams throughout his tenure in Iowa City. While with the Hawkeyes, Erb mentored Shonn Greene, who won the 2008 Doak Walker Award as the top running back in the nation and who currently plays for the Tennessee Titans.
Overall while at Iowa, Erb and the Hawkeyes went to 11 bowl games, including six January bowl games during his tenure. They won a share of two Big Ten Championships and finished in the final top 10 of both major polls four times.
In his first season working with the Iowa running backs in 2008, Erb coached Greene to the Doak Walker Award and consensus All-American honors while being named the Offensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten Conference. He rushed for 1,850 yards to set an Iowa single-season rushing mark and was the only running back in the nation to surpass 100 yards in every game during the season.
In 2009, Iowa's two freshmen running backs combined to rush for 1,475 yards and 13 touchdowns as Iowa posted an 11-2 overall record, placing second in the Big Ten and winning the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl.
Erb was also an integral part of special teams in Iowa City as the Hawkeyes led the Big Ten and ranked 25th in the nation in net punting last season. The Hawkeyes ranked third in the Big Ten in net punting in 2010 after ranking fourth in 2009, third in 2008 and second in 2007. Iowa allowed just 4.6 yards on punt returns to rank ninth in the nation in 2011. In 2010, Iowa ranked sixth in the nation in punt coverage (3.9) and 12th in kickoff returns (25.3). Senior punter Ryan Donahue was a finalist for the Ray Guy Punter of the Year award in 2010.
Erb coached kicker Nate Kaeding to first team All-America honors in both 2002 and 2003. Kaeding was named winner of the 2002 Lou Groza Placekicker of the Year award and was one of three finalists for the award in 2003.
A coach at the college and NFL levels for more than 20 years overall, Erb's career began in 1991 when he started a three-year tenure at Hobart College coaching wide receivers.
He then moved on to three seasons at Syracuse, where he assisted with the offensive line and scout team preparation while earning a master's degree.
In 1997, Erb went to the NFL where he spend the first of two seasons working with the Baltimore Ravens. While there, he worked alongside Kirk Ferentz, who would later bring Erb to Iowa.
Erb coached tight ends at Army in 1999 before moving on to Iowa.
Erb was a standout receiver at Bucknell University, where he set records for touchdown receptions in a season and career. He set a school record for average yards per catch in a single game when he averaged 33.7 yards on six catches vs. Fordham. His 902 receiving yards in 1989 ranks second best all-time at Bucknell. He ranks fifth in career all-purpose yards (3,286) and was Bucknell's Most Valuable Player as a senior in 1990.
He earned his B.A. in business administration from Bucknell and his M.A. in high educational administration from Syracuse.
He and his wife, Eileen, have four children, sons Jacob and A.J., and daughters Emily and Sarah.
The File on Lester Erb
Born: April 22, 1969
Hometown: Milton, Penn.
Family: Wife - Eileen, Daughters - Emily and Sarah, Sons - Jacob and A.J.
Education: Bachelor's, Business Administration, Bucknell, 1991. Master's, High Educational Administration, Syracuse, 1996.
2013-: Running Backs/Special Teams, Nevada
2008-12: Running Backs/Special Teams, Iowa
2000-07: Wide Receivers/Special Teams, Iowa
1999: Tight Ends, Army
1997-98: Assistant Coach, Baltimore Ravens
1994-96: Assistant Coach, Syracuse
1991-93: Wide Receivers, Hobart College
Bucknell: Enjoyed a record-breaking career as a wide receiver and was the team MVP in 1990.
Recruiting Area: Central California
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