Ashton Aikens enters his second season coaching the wide receivers for the Salukis after spending the previous two years coaching at Northwestern in charge of special teams quality control. A four-year letterwinner at wide receiver for Northwestern, Aikens brings with him eight years of coaching and playing experience at the collegiate level.
In his first season, Aikens' receiving corps caught a program record 29 touchdown passes, and Aikens helped a pair of the best receivers in school history cap historic career. LaSteven McKinney finished his career third in program history with 149 receptions, while MyCole Pruitt set the school record with 221. Pruitt ranks second in school history with 2,601 career receiving yards, and McKinney ranks 12th with 1,407.
In 2013 Aikens coached Northwestern kicker Jeff Budzien, who was a second-team Walter Camp All-American, a first-team All-Big Ten selection and received the Big Ten's Bakken-Andersen kicker of the year award. In 2012 he worked with All-American punt returner Venric Mark at Northwestern. Mark led the nation with an average of 20.1 yards per return. The 2012 Wildcats won 10 games and defeated Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. That year's team ranked third in the Big Ten in net punting.
Prior to his return to Northwestern, Aikens spent two years as an assistant coach at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Ill. He spent his first year there as a graduate assistant coach working with wide receivers and tight ends and also assisting with special teams coordination. In 2011, he became a full-time assistant as the wide receivers coach and special teams coordinator.
Aikens was a four-year wide out at Northwestern under head coach Randy Walker after playing running back at Detroit Country Day High School. Aikens hauled in 70 receptions for 733 yards in his career at NU. As a senior, he had 32 catches for 401 yards and received Northwestern's Rashidi Wheeler Award, which is given annually to the player who best embodies the spirit and enthusiasm of the late Northwestern safety.
He and his wife, Carla, were married in July of 2011. They have two sons, Ashton and Robert.