Michael Pitre

Michael Pitre served as Montana State's running backs coach for four seasons. He was also MSU's recruiting coordinator.

DEAN HENDRICKSON, For 406mtsports.com

BOZEMAN — Michael Pitre, Montana State's running backs coach since 2014, is joining the coaching staff at Oregon State.

The longest-tenured Bobcat assistant during the 2017 season, Pitre helped mold one of the Big Sky's most productive running back groups during his four seasons at MSU.

His most challenging season, possibly, was the most recent, when four running backs shared ball-carrying duties with quarterback Chris Murray. Still, the Bobcats led the Big Sky and finished seventh in the FCS in rushing with 249.5 yards a game. Pitre also served as the Bobcats' recruiting coordinator.

"Coach Pitre is one of the bright young coaches in our profession and I'm excited to bring him aboard to assist in the development of our offense," first-year Beavers coach Jonathan Smith said. "He has a tremendous reputation as a strong recruiter with outstanding west coast ties."

Bobcat running backs enjoyed considerable success under Pitre's tutelage. The Cats finished among the FCS' top 20 rushing teams in each of his four seasons, and in the top eight twice.

Chad Newell played his final three seasons for Pitre and finished 10th in school history in rushing yards, earning second-team All-Big Sky honors twice. Pitre also coached Shawn Johnson as a senior, when he earned third-team All-Big Sky honors.

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During his playing career, Pitre started at fullback for UCLA for three seasons, fighting through injuries and other adversity to serve as future NFL star Maurice Jones-Drew's blocking back. He began his coaching career in the California high school ranks (2008-11) before becoming a graduate assistant at Colorado (2012-13).

Pitre will be the running backs coach at Oregon State under Smith, a former star quarterback for the Beavers who was an assistant at Montana from 2010-11 and worked with Bobcat head coach Jeff Choate at Washington in 2014-15.

He joins former Bobcat assistant coach Jim Michalczik, who was at MSU from 1992-98 and now serves as OSU's offensive line coach and run game coordinator.

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