Keith James is in his 10th season on the football staff at Coastal Carolina University, serving as the running backs coach, as well as the program's academic coordinator.
The 2010 season saw a healthy Eric O'Neal set a school record as well as lead the Big South with 179 rushing attempts. He would rush for 781 yards, fifth-best n the league and 67th in the NCAA, as he averaged 4.4 yards per carry.
In 2009, a mid-season injury to O'Neal could have been a setback, but fullback Tommy Fraser took the reigns and ended up earning first team All-American honors. The two combined to rush for over 1,000 yards and Coastal Carolina ranked 37th nationally in rushing.
In 2008, James had his first Chanticleer play in the NFL, as fullback Mike Tolbert played in 13 games, including seven starts, for the San Diego Chargers. Tolbert received his shot at the NFL after Coastal ranked 27th nationally in rushing in 2007, with Tolbert ranking 76th nationally and fourth in the Big South.
The program has been solid at running back from the beginning. Aundres Perkins was a three-time second teamAll-Big South pick (2003, `05 and `06), while Patrick Hall, who led the league and ranked 25th in rushing (100.64), was both a first team selection and Big South Offensive Player of the Year in 2004. The Chants led the Big South in rushing in 2004 and 2005, ranking fifth nationally in the category in `04 and 18th in the program's first year (`03).
James arrived in Conway from Winston-Salem State University, where he coached for the six previous years. During his time at Winston-Salem State, the program won two consecutive CIAA Championships in 1999 and 2000 and were victorious in the 2000 Pioneer Bowl. During his time at WSSU, he was also the softball coach, leading the Lady Rams to a 49-18 record in two seasons. His softball team was also awarded the school's Director's Cup for the team with the highest grade point average for the third consecutive year. Prior to his time at WSSU, he spent two years at Mount Tabor High School, where his team improved five games during his tenure.
The 45-year-old James graduated from Winston-Salem State in 1989 with a bachelor's in mass communication. As a quarterback, James led his team to the 1988 CIAA Championship game, where he was named the game's Most Valuable Player. He then attended North Carolina A&T, earning a master's in adult education in 1998.
A three-sport letterwinner at Dudley Senior High School, James was the Most Valuable Player and Outstanding Offensive Player on the football squad. James also played basketball and ran track, graduating in 1984.
Born in Greensboro, N.C., James lives in Conway with his wife, Phyllis.