Former Pirate offensive lineman and seven-year National Football League veteran Dwayne Ledford has rejoined the East Carolina University football program as a member of the coaching staff after accepting an offensive assistant's position according to an announcement from head coach Skip Holtz.
Ledford recently retired from an NFL career that began in 1999 and concluded in 2006, and included service with five organizations. In all, he played four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers (1999-2000, 2003-2004) while also spending time on the Jacksonville Jaguars (2000), Carolina Panthers (2001), Cleveland Browns (2005) and New Orleans Saints’ (2006 preseason) rosters.
After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 1999, Ledford made his professional game-day debut a year later before experiencing his top season in 2003, which included action in a career-eight games and one start.
Toward the end of his playing days, Ledford initiated his coaching career by spending two seasons with the Frankfurt Galaxy in NFL Europe. In 2006, he served as an intern offensive line coach before assuming a positional leadership role as tight ends coach a year later where he helped the Galaxy to a World Bowl appearance. Most recently, Ledford was offensive line coach at Sanderson High School in Raleigh in 2007 prior to his move back to East Carolina.
Ledford was a four-year letterman at ECU, beginning with his true freshman campaign in 1995 under former head coach Steve Logan. He opened his career on the defensive side of the ball, and after experiencing limited action as a rookie during the Pirates' run to the Liberty Bowl title, he followed by playing in all 22 combined games during his sophomore and junior seasons. Ledford started 11 contests in 1997 and was credited with 26 tackles, 20 coming as solo hits.
He accepted a move to the offensive line prior to spring drills as a senior in 1998 and quickly earned top depth chart standing heading into fall camp. Ledford opened nine of 11 games at left tackle during David Garrard's freshman season and helped the Pirates to a No. 23 national rank in pass efficiency, a No. 35 standing in pass offense and a No. 43 rating in total offense.
A strong performer in the classroom as well, Ledford earned the program's Jerry T. Brooks Award in 1998, an honor which recognizes outstanding academic achievement among football student-athletes.
An All-Western North Carolina and two-time all-conference selection at McDowell High School in Marion, N.C., Ledford topped the Titans in sacks as a sophomore, junior and senior and was credited with 68 tackles during his final campaign in 1994.
Ledford, who earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sports science from East Carolina in 2000, is married to the former Meredith Cunningham of Marion, N.C.
He replaces Paul Troth, who accepted a full-time coaching position in Europe earlier this spring.