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Giants hire Joel Thomas as RB Coach, Aaron Wellman as Executive Director of Player Performance


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants announced two additions to their coaching staff, one a newcomer to the organization and the other a returnee who was with the team from 2016-19.

Joel Thomas is the team's new running backs coach and Aaron Wellman is the executive director of player performance. Both coaches are 49 years old.

They join offensive line coach Carmen Bricillo as new members of the Giants' coaching staff.

Thomas is a 24-year coaching veteran who spent the previous nine seasons as the New Orleans Saints' running backs coach. During that time, the Saints tied for second in the NFL with 161 rushing touchdowns and Thomas' backs registered 27 individual 100-yard performances.

Under Thomas' tutelage, Alvin Kamara earned five Pro Bowl selections and is the only NFL player with at least 1,160 yards from scrimmage in each of the last seven seasons, three of them 1,500 yards or more. Kamara is the first player in Saints history to lead the team in rushing in six consecutive seasons. He has 10,048 scrimmage yards and 78 touchdowns and is one of four players with 10,000+ yards and 75+ scores since entering the league in 2017. The others are Derrick Henry, Tyreek Hill, and Christian McCaffrey.

Before joining the Saints, Thomas was the running backs coach at the University of Arkansas from 2013-14. He spent the previous four seasons (2009-12) in the same position at the University of Washington.

Thomas was also the running backs coach at Purdue (2000-01 and 2006-08), Louisville (2002-03) and Idaho (2004-05).

Thomas lettered at running back at the University of Idaho from 1993-98, where he was a two-time first-team All-Big West selection and conference Player of the Year as a senior and still holds Vandals' career records with 3,929 rushing yards, 51 rushing touchdowns and 765 rushing attempts. He was inducted into the University of Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. Thomas earned his bachelor's degree in public communications in 1998.

He replaces Jeff Nixon, who left the Giants after one season to become the offensive coordinator at Syracuse University.

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Wellman rejoins the Giants after spending the previous four seasons as Indiana University's senior assistant athletic director for football performance. At Indiana, Wellman worked with current Giants linebacker Micah McFadden.

In his first stint with the Giants, Wellman was the team's strength and conditioning coach under head coaches Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur. He was responsible for the yearly programming of strength, speed, and position-specific conditioning for the Giants. Wellman implemented individualized performance programs to maximize speed, strength and power while mitigating the risk of injury.

Prior to joining the Giants, Wellman led strength and conditioning programs at Ball State University (2004-08), San Diego State University (2009-10), and the University of Michigan (2011-14). He began his career at Indiana, first as a graduate assistant (1997) and then as the Hoosiers' assistant strength and conditioning coach (1998-2001). He was an assistant at Michigan State University (2001-03) before going to Ball State.

Wellman played football at Manchester (Ind.) University, where he earned his degree in exercise science in 1996. Wellman added master's degrees from Indiana in applied sport science in 1998 and nutrition science in 2009, and a PhD from Bond University in Queensland, Australia in 2018.

Wellman replaces Craig Fitzgerald, who was the Giants' director of strength and performance and left recently to take the same position at the University of Florida.


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