OXFORD, MS (WLBT) - Ole Miss has hired Tyrone Nix as its new assistant coach for linebackers, head coach Matt Luke announced on Wednesday.
Nix, a 24-year coaching veteran, joins the Rebel program after spending the last season at Virginia Tech where he coached safeties.
“We are continuing to add invaluable experience to our staff with the addition of Coach Nix to our defense.” Luke said. “His tough-minded approach, along with his familiarity with our program and the state of Mississippi, make him a perfect fit for our program and an asset on the recruiting front.”
Nix returns to Oxford for his second stint with the Ole Miss program after working on the Rebels' staff from 2008-11 as a defensive coordinator. He will also join his brother Derrick Nix, who serves as the Rebels’ running backs coach.
Prior to his one season in Blacksburg, Virginia, Nix spent the 2017 campaign as a defensive analyst at Texas A&M.
After Nix’s first stint with Ole Miss, he served five seasons at Middle Tennessee working as co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach from 2012-14 and defensive coordinator/linebackers coach from 2015-16. He tutored a pair of NFL Draft choices for the Blue Raiders in DT Jimmy Staten and S Kevin Byard, who earned a Pro Bowl berth following the 2017 season with the Tennessee Titans.
Nix's defenses consistently ranked in the nation's top 25 in terms of forcing takeaways. The Blue Raiders tied for fifth in that department among FBS squads with 33 turnovers forced in 2013, a figure that ranked higher than all Power Five squads except for Arizona State and Oklahoma State, who also had 33.
A collegiate linebacker at Southern Miss, he embarked on his coaching career at his alma mater as defensive tackles coach in 1995, beginning a decade-long run that also saw him coach outside linebackers (1996-99) and defensive backs (2000). He was elevated to defensive coordinator/inside linebackers coach, a position he held from 2001-04.
From 2001-03, Southern Miss ranked in the top 15 in the nation in both scoring defense and pass efficiency defense each season. In his 10-year period at Southern Miss, he mentored 12 All-Conference USA selections, four Conference USA Defensive Players of the Year and six All-America selections, while also being named a finalist for Broyles Award in 2003. Southern Miss also enjoyed team success, winning four Conference USA titles and earning seven postseason bowl berths. His many notable pupils coached in Hattiesburg included a pair of future NFL Pro Bowl performers in CB Patrick Surtain and LB Adalius Thomas.
Nix enjoyed his initial stint as a defensive coordinator in the Southeastern Conference, serving in that role and also coaching linebackers for head coach Steve Spurrier at South Carolina (2005-07). A pair of Gamecocks, CB Johnathan Joseph and S Ko Simpson, were selected in the NFL Draft.
In addition, Simpson earned All-America accolades. He was promoted to assistant head coach in 2006 as South Carolina's defense surrendered a mere 18.7 ppg., an improvement of 4.5 ppg fewer than 2005 despite returning just one starter to his defense. In 2007, the Gamecocks led the SEC and ranked fifth nationally in pass defense, allowing just 168.8 ypg.
The Attalla, Alabama, native served as defensive coordinator under Houston Nutt at Ole Miss (2008-11). In 2008, his unit ranked fourth in the nation in rushing defense (86.5 ypg), led by All-America DT Peria Jerry, who was selected in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, and future All-SEC DT Jerrell Powe.
The 2009 campaign saw the Rebels post 92 tackles for loss and 34.0 sacks, totals that ranked first and second in the SEC, respectively. Nix's defenses helped lead Ole Miss to consecutive Cotton Bowl appearances in 2009 and 2010. He added the title of assistant head coach to his responsibilities for the 2010-11 seasons.
Nix was a four-year letterman at linebacker for Southern Miss from 1990-93. He completed his bachelor's degree in 1995.
Nix and his wife, Toya, have two children – a son, Ty and a daughter, Tiah.
NIX COACHING CAREER
1995: Southern Miss (DTs)
1996-99: Southern Miss (OLBs)
2000: Southern Miss (DBs)
2001-04: Southern Miss (DC/ILBs)
2005: South Carolina (co-DC/DL)
2006: South Carolina (co-DC/LB)
2007: South Carolina (co-DC/ILB)
2008-09: Ole Miss (DC/LBs)
2010-11: Ole Miss (AHC/DC/LBs)
2012-14: Middle Tennessee (co-DC/LBs)
2015-16: Middle Tennessee (DC/LBs)
2017: Texas A&M (defensive analyst)
2018: Virginia Tech (S)