It’s been two decades since Ladell Betts has suited up as a member of Iowa’s football program. But the former running back has returned to Iowa City as the new running backs coach for the Hawkeyes.

Betts was named the new running backs coach earlier this offseason, replacing Derrick Foster who left the program for the NFL. He’s excited for the new gig.

“Feels good to be back,” Betts told the Associated Press. “It’s been kind of surreal, somewhat nostalgic at times and every emotion in between. For me, this is a unique opportunity I couldn’t pass up, an opportunity to come back to the university from which I started, to do something I love, which is coaching football — and obviously coach a position I know pretty well, which is running back.”

During his playing days at Iowa, Betts was a two-time All-B1G second-team selection. Over the course of his career, he racked up 3,686 yards and 25 touchdowns on the ground while also accounting for 702 receiving yards and 2 more scores.

This will be Betts’ first job at the collegiate ranks, having coached high school football since 2013. He’s already got a message for the guys in the running back room.

“Your job as a player is to make my job very difficult,” Betts told his players. “What I mean by that, I want you to perform at such a high level at practice that you make it hard for me not to play you.”

Iowa is coming off a 6-2 campaign in 2020, winning the final six games following an 0-2 start. With Tyler Goodson, Ivory Kelly-Martin in the backfield, the Hawkeyes’ rushing attack could be a real strength this season.