The Nevada Wolf Pack have found their next head coach and it is Arizona State wide receiver’s coach Jay Norvell.
This is Norvell’s first head coaching job and it comes after his first and only year as the wide receivers coach at Arizona State. Norvell beat out Vanderbilt offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin.
Prior to being at Arizona State, Norvell had been an offensive coordinator at the University of Texas in 2016, co-offensive coordinator with Oklahoma (2008-14), UCLA (2007) and Nebraska (2004-06)
He also has NFL experience as he spent six seasons from 1998-2003 coaching wide receivers and tight ends for the Indianapolis Colts and Oakland Raiders.
While he has not been a head coach the NFL experience is huge as is Norvell’s ability to recruit California and Texas. Over the past few seasons recruiting the Golden State has been less of a priority for Reno despite being a border state. Look for Norvell to make recruiting California a priority for the Wolf Pack and the Nevada roster have a majority of Californians suiting up for them.
That combination makes Norvell the best choice for the Nevada head coaching job over Baldwin and Ludwig. While Baldwin has coached well at the FCS level, that is only the FCS level and not many coaches make the jump to the FBS level and have great success.
As for Ludwig, he has bounced around from job to job as an offensive coordinator his entire career which started back in 1993. His most recent stop is with Vanderbilt has not resulted in much success. Yes, coaching in the SEC and particularly with Vanderbilt is tough but the offensive gains are not there. The year prior to his arrival their offense was 125th in the nation and in two years it went to 117th and this past year it moved to just 110th overall.
Other stops have shown success like his two years with Wisconsin where he helped the offense go from middle of the pack to a top 20 offense in just one year. While a few times he moved to a new job because of a coaching change at the top, but it also shows the lack of support at some schools where he improved the offense but was not a serious candidate.
Another reason Norvell was the right choice is because of his abilities to get wide receivers to the next level and during his time at Oklahoma coached seven wide outs who would be selected in the NFL Draft.
- Juaquin Iglesias (3rd round, 2009)
- Manuel Johnson (7th, 2009)
- Ryan Broyles (2nd, 2012)
- Kenny Stills (5th, 2013)
- Justin Brown (7th, 2013)
- Jalen Saunders (4th, 2014)
- Sterling Shephard (2nd, 2016)
During his time in the NFL he also coached Hall of Fame wide receiver Marvin Harrison when he was with the Colts. So, it is safe to he knows a thing or two about coaching wide receivers.
Norvell replaces Brian Polian, who went 23-27 over four seasons with the Wolf Pack.