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Nevada Football: Five new assistants officially hired to Ken Wilson’s staff

All five have coached with Wilson at some point in their respective careers.

Syndication: Reno Gazette Journal Andy Barron / USA TODAY NETWORK

Five assistant coaching hires were made official for new Nevada Wolf Pack football coach Ken Wilson, it was announced Monday.

The following assistant coaching positions were the ones made official: Two co-defensive coordinators, cornerbacks, special teams coordinator and the strength and conditioning coach. Nevada’s two defensive coordinators — Mike Bethea and Kwame Agyeman (see below) — will also be the linebackers coach and safeties coach, respectively.

Each collegiate program is allotted to 10 full-time assistant coaches. Its only other official assistant coaching hire was Vai Taua, who was announced as the team’s associate head coach in Dec. — while still retaining his running backs coaching role that he previously held under previous head coach Jay Norvell.

The other open positions will be officially be announced at a later date.

Here are Wilson’s five new assistants and their respective roles. Let’s jump into it!

Defensive coordinators: Mike Bethea and Kwame Agyeman

Previous: Brian Ward (2020-21) - Now defensive coordinator at Washington State

Agyeman was previously Oregon’s longest serving coach before his departure to the Wolf Pack. While at Oregon, he coached defensive backs (2015-17), inside linebackers (2018), safeties (2019) and cornerbacks (2020-21). Agyeman also spent four seasons as a defensive analyst (2018-21) with the Ducks. He was also a four-year letterman and a two-year starter at linebacker with Oregon (2004-07), where he totaled 114 career tackles, 13.0 tackles-for-loss (one sack) and one forced fumble.

His first head coaching stop came with Northwestern (2013-14) under head coach Pat Fitzgerald. Agyeman worked in the recruiting office as a recruiting assistant in 2013 before becoming a quality control coach for the special team’s in 2014. Under his tutelege, he’s coached seven All-Conference players, seven NFL Draft picks and has won a pair of conference championships.

Bethea, an Ex-Nevada linebacker (2008-09) that played under Wilson, will join Agyeman as the team’s co-defensive coordinator as well as becoming the team’s linebackers coach. When he was with the Pack, he totaled 99 tackles, 10 tackles-for-loss, 3.5 sacks and an interception.

Bethea most recently served as the defensive coordinator at Ottawa University Arizona (OUAZ), an NAIA program, a position he held for five years (2017-2021). In 2019, OUAZ’s defense ranked 30th (out of 93 teams) in the NAIA in scoring (21.9 ppg), No. 18 in pass defense (171.4 ypg), T-20 in sacks per game (2.8) and No. 43 in first downs allowed (199). In addition to playing under him, Bethea coached with Wilson as a graduate assistant at Nevada (2011-12) and Washington State (2013-15). He was also a graduate assistant at TCU in 2016.

Linebackers coach: Bethea

Previous: Ward (2020-21)

Safeties coach: Agyeman

Previous: Ronnie Wheat (2020-21)

Cornerbacks Coach: Jalen Ortiz

Previous: Nevada did not have “cornerbacks” coach last year, per say, but had a secondary coach headed by Riccardo Stewart (2020-21).

Ortiz most recently served with as a graduate assistant with the defensive backs at Oregon, where he spent the last two seasons. With the Ducks, he coached three All-Conference defensive backs — Mykael Wright, Deommodre Lenoir and Jamal Hill.

Ortiz was a former defensive back and linebacker with UCLA (2013-14) and Wyoming (2015-17), tallying 78 career tackles, four for loss with one sack, two pass deflections, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in college. He then became a graduate assistant with the Pokes from 2018-19, coaching All-Mountain West defensive backs Andrew Wingard, Marcus Epps and Alijah Haliburton.

Special teams coordinator/outside linebackers: Joe Bolden

Previous: Thomas Sheffield (2020-21) - Now at Colorado State as Special Teams Coordinator

Bolden comes to the Wolf Pack after serving as Ohio State’s quality control coach from 2020-21. Before his stint with the Buckeyes, he was spent time with Wilson as a special teams graduate assistant at Washington State from 2017-18, as well as a special teams quality control analyst at USC in 2019 and a one-year grad assistant stint at Michigan (2016) — where he played from 2012-15. The former Wolverines captain totaled 270 career tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, five sacks, one pass deflection and one fumble recovery at linebacker and was an All-Big 10 honorable mention honoree in 2015.

Strength and conditioning coach: Mason Baggett

Previous: Jordon Simmons (2017-21) - Now at Colorado State as Assistant Head Coach/Head Football Strength and Conditioning Coach

Baggett has never been the head strength and conditioning coach at the collegiate program, so this will be his first. But he spent the past year as the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Oregon as well as previous assistant strength coaching stints at Maryland, Illinois and East Carolina. Baggett was also a strength and conditioning specialist at EXOS in Camp LeJune, N.C., for four years (2011-15).