Childhood & Early Life
Bieniemy was born Eric M. Bieniemy, Jr., on August 15, 1969, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He had spent most of his early childhood in a New Orleans slum that was under the influence of drugs and prostitution. Bieniemy was a teenager when his family moved to West Covina, where the social scene was pretty much the same. However, even after he moved to Boulder, a more affluent community, to start his career, things did not alter for him.
Bieniemy attended the 'Bishop Amat High School' in La Puente, California, where he was a letter-star in football and track-and-field. He also earned second-team ‘All-America’ football honors in his senior year.
Bieniemy then attended the 'University of Colorado Boulder' and played for the 'Colorado Buffaloes' in 1990. While in the team, he became the nation's second-leading rusher, with 1,628 yards and 17 touchdowns.
He was nicknamed "Scooter" and wore the number-one jersey. Bieniemy was unanimously chosen for the ‘All-America’ honors in 1990. He also earned the 'first-team ‘Big-Eight Performer’ title in 1990 (previously in 1988) and the conference's 'Offensive Player of the Year' honor in his senior year.
As a junior, Bieniemy was named to the university’s coveted 25-member 'All-Century Football Team.’
Bieniemy won the third spot in the 'Heisman Trophy' ballot. He became the university’s all-time leader in rushing (3,940 yards) and also held records in all-purpose yards (4,351) and touchdowns (42).
Bieniemy was a member of 1990 'Co-National Championship' team.
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In the 1991 ‘NFL Draft,’ Bieniemy was taken in by the 'San Diego Chargers' in the second round (39th overall), which marked the beginning of his professional career. However, unlike his successful collegiate career, Bieniemy’s professional career (from 1991 to 1999) was not too impressive.
He finished his career with a collective score of 1,589 yards rushing, 276 yards returning punts, 1,223 yards receiving, 1,621 yards on kickoff returns, 11 rushing, and one kickoff return, all while he was drafted with the 'San Diego Chargers' (1991–1994), the ‘Cincinnati Bengals’ (1995–1998), and the 'Philadelphia Eagles' (1999), playing under the 'Chiefs' head coach Andy Reid. He was a running back for the 'Cincinnati Bengals' from 1995 to 1998.
In his final year with the 'Chargers,' Bieniemy played in 'Super Bowl XXIX.'
Following a failed ‘NFL’ career, Bieniemy resumed his studies at 'Colorado' and completed his degree. His first coaching experience was as an assistant at 'Thomas Jefferson High' in Denver, but the team failed to perform well in the season.
He served as the running-backs coach for the 'Buffaloes' (2001–2002) and for the ‘UCLA’ (2003–2005). He was also the team's recruiting coordinator in 2005.
Bieniemy was declared the running-backs coach for ‘NFL’s 'Minnesota Vikings' after the ‘UCLA’ team won the 2005 'Sun Bowl.' Under him, 'Vikings' lead rusher Adrian Peterson played remarkably well at the ‘NFC,’ rushing with 1,341 yards (2007) and 1,760 yards (2008), which was the top score in the ‘NFL’ that year.
In 2006, Bieniemy coached Chester Taylor, who formed one of the most dynamic duos in the ‘NFL,’ with Adrian Peterson.
On July 26, 2010, Bieniemy was named the assistant head coach of the ‘Vikings' offense. On December 2 the same year, he was made the offensive coordinator for the 'Colorado Buffaloes' under its new head coach, Jon Embree.
In 2013, Bieniemy became the 'Kansas City Chiefs' running-backs coach under their head coach, Andy Reid. He was moved up to the post of offensive coordinator in 2018, and the 'Chiefs' had the highest yards per game and points in the ‘NFL’ that year. The team’s overall performance was highly impressive for the season.
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From 2013 to 2016, Bieniemy mentored RB Jamaal Charles, who was regarded as one of the most powerful rushing and receiving players of the 'Chiefs’ in the ‘NFL.’ Charles eventually became the all-time leading rusher and scored the best yards-per-carry average in the history of the franchise.
In 2013, under Bieniemy’s coaching, Charles topped the ‘NFL’ in touchdowns (19) and first downs (104) and scored the second-highest in yards from scrimmage. He became the first running back in the 'Chiefs' history to record the highest-receiving yards.
While he was a star running back at 'Colorado University,' Bieniemy ran into several legal issues. He was in his freshman year when he was charged for engaging in an altercation at a bar after someone hurled a racial slur at him. Bieniemy was sentenced to community service, as he pleaded no contest.
Over the course of his 'Colorado' career, Bieniemy got his driving record seized several times. Such cases kept piling up, and soon, his license was suspended for a year. He was then sentenced to post a $1,000 bond for speeding in the state.
Bieniemy did not turn up for his court hearing on driving with a suspended license. Weeks later, he landed in jail for leaving an accident scene.
Bieniemy was barred from the 'Colorado' campus for a year after he was charged with harassing and assaulting a parking attendant during a 'Colorado' football game in 1993.
On July 4, 1990, fire broke out in his mother's house, apparently because some of his younger brother’s fireworks ignited in a plastic bag in his garage. Surprisingly, Bieniemy stopped the firefighters who attempted to breach the garage wall. The firefighters had thought it was an electrical fire.
In April 2001, soon after Bieniemy was named the 'Colorado' running-backs coach, he was arrested for driving under the influence.
Bieniemy stirred controversy for calling star running back Marcus Houston "Markeesha," after which Houston transferred.
Family & Personal Life
Bieniemy has two sons, Eric III and Elijah, from his wife, Mia.
His nephew, Jamal, is drafted to 'The Oklahoma Sooners' men's basketball team.
With reference to the 1991 movie 'Sleeping with the Enemy,' ‘ESPN’ broadcaster Chris Berman nicknamed him "Eric sleeping with Bieniemy."