Hokies hire Tyrone Nix to coach safeties

Virginia Tech rounds out its coaching staff ahead of the 2018 football season.

[Ole Miss Athletics]

June is not the opportune time to hire an assistant football coach. That's the only certainty here. Yet, because of Galen Scott's unexpected resignation in April, that's exactly what Justin Fuente did. Virginia Tech announced Tyrone Nix as safeties coach on Thursday.

Within reason, Fuente had a few different ways to play the rags dealt to him. He could have promoted within (Justin Hamilton), rolled with Hamilton in an interim role until after the season once a larger and more approachable talent pool existed, or poached an up-and-comer from the Group of Five. Instead, Fuente hired a veteran coach and Broyles Award finalist. On top of that, Nix adds an outside perspective to the staff and has defensive coordinator experience, in the SEC nonetheless.

"Bud [Foster] and I both knew we wanted an experienced defensive coach and proven recruiter to fill this position on our staff," Fuente said in a release. "We will get that and much more with Tyrone Nix. We're excited about his proven track record as a coach who can evaluate and develop talent. Just as importantly, we are always looking for individuals who can bring new ideas and concepts to our staff as we continually strive to evolve."

Nix isn't a splash hire. And that's mostly because his career has trended down. He went from (co-)defensive coordinator at South Carolina and then Ole Miss, to (co-)defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee State, before finally serving as a senior defensive analyst for Texas A&M until now. Flip that around and it's an exciting (and then unrealistic) get.

Yet, regardless of whether it's flashy or not, Nix may prove to be very solid in the role. Can he develop and recruit talent? That's the only question that matters.

Fuente didn't hire him as a defensive coordinator, or even co-defensive coordinator (a distinguishment bestowed to Scott this offseason), rather as a safeties coach. (Sidebar: Nix has extensive experience coaching box defenders, but according to the Tech release and Wikipedia, only coached defensive backs for one season.) Fuente's seemingly banking on his years around the block to translate regardless of what position he's tasked to coach.

Nix brings southeast and JUCO recruiting relationships to the table. However, there isn't evidence of mid-Atlantic ties which Tech has thrived on. He's landed three, 4-star 247Sports Composite recruits throughout his career, and two were JUCO prospects.

Overall, there's plenty of reason for both optimism and skepticism here. Ultimately, time will judge the decision.


He's coached in the SEC on staffs that have punched above their weight in terms of recruiting. Given the timetable that Fuente had to work with, I think this is about as good a hire as can be expected.

Agree; given the situation, I'm actually happy how it worked out.


Automatic leg for Heisenberg

Heisenberg? there's a principle of uncertainty about this hire though, wouldn't you say? I'll see myself out

I laughed. well done

He's coached in the SEC on staffs that have punched above their weight in terms of recruiting.

To be fair, this i$ Ole Mi$$ we're talking about.

I like the hire at lot more at $200,000/year than I would've at Scott's salary of $338,000/year. For a program in need of $$$ as much as ours, saving $138,000/year will be nice. We can put that money to use elsewhere... might be able to hire 2-3 additional support staff members.

Good idea on hiring more support staff....we can then blame them for Josh Jacksons academic problems.



Psssst. You left off the /s.

no no he didn't. this is in fact what we do.

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

I don't get what you're saying or how it relates to my comment about hiring support staff.

I wonder how many teams have two broyles award finalists on their defensive staff?

The "Safeties Coach" is really the "Outside Linebacker Coach". The "Corners" coaches both the FS's and the corners.

Bud coaches the Whips and Rovers under the "Safeties" because their responsibilities are interchangeable.

ie: A man motions across the offensive formation into trips, Bud will play Cover 3 and the Rover drops down into the box.

On certain occasions coverage responsibilities might get flipped from one side of the field to the other, thus why they are taught in a group of their own.


It is all about communication. Free is always to the field. Rover is always to the boundary. The whip is usually to the field, but he aligns to the passing strength. Often you will see the whip and rover on the same side, especially when teams use double tights to the boundary like Pitt.

With Nix, his performance curve will rest largely on his ability to teach the whips and rovers the proper communication to set the force/spill call and then fit the alley in the proper location.

The free safety plays more of a corner role, that is true. The free can play a deep half, have the slot passes off by the whip to the free in man, or invert and cover the short flat.

However, I am not sure that the free gets coached with the corners. Because Bud doesn't flip the corners anymore, there isn't a situation where the rover is always working with the boundary corner and the free is working with the field. The free and the rover would need to be making calls to the entire corner group. Separating them in the film room doesn't make much sense to me. That is pure conjecture on my part, and they may have a system where it works to have the free with the corners and the rovers with the whips, but managing that seems problematic with the corners no longer flipping.

I appreciate the insight. It gives me something to noodle on.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

It could have changed a bit since I was there. Whammy and Grey coached both CBs and Safetys.
Cavanaugh coached Outside Linebackers (Whips and Rovers).

As you have said, the system has changed a bit since I was there, so its certainly possible.


With Nix is in the fold, Chammari Conner's growth will be his first measuring stick for assessment. Conner is a big time talent.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I have no problem with this tweet.

It's Time to go to Work

That article was pretty bizarre. Does anyone care what Houston Nutt thinks at this point? Also I was a little shocked to see Greg Hardy listed as one of Nix's successes.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Seems like a down to earth guy:

"...I'm getting a little tired of hearing how good everybody else is..." -Coach Fu [This week: 1-0]