Running Backs Coach
Jim Mastro joined Mario Cristobal’s staff as running backs coach in January 2018, bringing with him more than two decades of collegiate coaching experience.
Mastro came to Eugene after spending the previous six seasons (2012-17) as the running backs coach at Washington State. Mastro’s move to Oregon marked his third stop at a Pac-12 school; he coached the 2011 season at UCLA before going to WSU.
In his final season at WSU in 2017, Mastro led a running backs group that surpassed the 1,000-yard mark both rushing (1,096) and receiving (1,073) for the second straight season, finishing with a combined 2,169 yards. Jamal Morrow led the team with 522 rushing yards while also hauling in 60 receptions for 506 yards, and he earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention honors after finishing with nine total touchdowns.
In 2016, WSU was one of just four teams in the country to have its running backs eclipse 1,000 yards in both rushing (1,660) and receiving (1,034), with Morrow once again earning all-conference honorable mention honors after racking up 1,217 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns. It was also the first time in program history that WSU running backs finished with more than 1,000 yards both rushing and receiving. The Cougars’ 23 rushing touchdowns in 2016 were the program’s most since 1997.
The Cougars’ running game really began to come together in 2015, when Mastro’s running backs averaged 6.1 yards per carry, the program’s highest average since 2005. WSU’s trio of running backs combined for 152.5 all-purpose yards per game while scoring 12 touchdowns. Mastro’s backs also consistently showed an ability to catch the ball, hauling in 114 passes for 734 yards and seven touchdowns in 2015. In 2014, Morrow set a WSU record for running backs with 61 receptions, the second most by a running back in the nation.
In 2013, Mastro’s second full season at WSU, he led a running back group that doubled its yards-per-carry average, nearly doubled its total rushing yardage and rushed for 10 touchdowns.
Prior to coaching at WSU, Mastro spent the 2011 season as the run game coordinator while coaching tight ends, slots and the quarterback run game at UCLA. Mastro also played a key role in the Bruins’ rushing attack, which was third in the Pac-12 with 178.4 rushing yards per game.
Mastro spent 11 seasons (2000-10) as running backs coach at Nevada before moving to the Pac-12, building one of the top running attacks in the nation and helping to develop the Pistol offense. During those 11 seasons, a Wolf Pack running back led the Western Athletic Conference in rushing five times, and Mastro helped five Nevada running backs produce nine 1,000-yard seasons. In 2010, Vai Taua was seventh in the nation with 123.9 yards per game while producing his third straight 1,000-yard campaign. In Mastro’s second season (2001) at Nevada, he took a walk-on redshirt freshman, Chance Kretschmer, and developed him into the nation’s leading rusher.
With Mastro directing the running backs, Nevada led the nation with 344.9 rushing yards per game in 2009 and was third in the nation in both 2008 (277.8) and 2010 (292.2). Mastro helped Nevada develop the Pistol offense in 2005 under head coach Chris Ault, resulting in the Wolf Pack having at least one 1,000-yard rusher and a first-team All-WAC selection in each season with the exception of 2006, when Robert Hubbard finished with 996 yards.
In 2009, Mastro became the only position coach in history with three 1,000-yard rushers in the same season, when a trio of Nevada running backs accomplished the feat. Also during Mastro’s tenure, the Wolf Pack set the record for career rushing yards by a tandem, eclipsing the record previously held by SMU’s Eric Dickerson and Craig James, and setting a record that still stands (8,700 yards, RB Vai Taua and QB Colin Kaepernick, the latter of whom also threw for 10,098 career yards and 82 touchdowns).
Mastro also served as recruiting coordinator during his time at Nevada, overseeing several top recruiting classes.
Before his 11-year stint at Nevada, Mastro spent the 1998 and 1999 seasons as running backs and special teams coach at Idaho. During his tenure in Moscow, he helped Idaho to a Big West Championship and coached the 1998 Big West Player of the Year and Idaho’s career rushing leader, Joel Thomas. Prior to going to Idaho, Mastro was the linebackers and special teams coach at San Jose State for one season (1996).
Mastro began his coaching career at his alma mater, Cal Poly, in 1989 while he was completing his undergraduate degree. He was the running backs coach from 1989 to 1993 before taking over direction of the defensive line and special teams while also serving as strength coach from 1994 to 1996.
Mastro was a two-year letterman (1987-88) as a running back during his playing days at Cal Poly, where he went after playing two years (1985-86) at San Jose City College, where he was an all-America honorable mention selection as a sophomore. Mastro earned his Bachelor’s degree in physical information from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 1994.
Mastro married his wife, Terri, in 2001. They have three kids, Michael, Ronnie and Cheryl, and three grandchildren, Kaydin, Mason and Brooke.