By Ole Miss Media Relations
OXFORD – Ole Miss Head Football Coach Houston Nutt announced Thursday that Tyrone Nix is being promoted to the role of assistant head coach, effectively immediately.
“Ty has done an excellent job for us the last two seasons and is recognized as one of the best defensive coordinators in college football,” Nutt said, noting that Nix will be taking on more responsibilities with the day-to-day operation of the football program. “It’s evident that other schools recognize his talents and approach to the game of football. He is going to be an excellent head coach when the right opportunity arises.
“Not only does Ty have a great passion for this game, he possesses great judgement, discipline and character. He has always been considered a team player and is most deserving to take on the role of assistant head coach.”
Although no details of Nix’s new contract were released, Nutt confirmed that a salary increase has been approved.
“I cherish this latest opportunity Coach Nutt has given me, and it’s an honor to be a part of his wonderful staff,” Nix said. “Our family enjoys it here in Oxford, and we look forward to many more years at Ole Miss.”
Nix joined Nutt’s first Ole Miss staff prior to the 2008 season and has been serving as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He will continue those duties while also serving as assistant head coach.
Under the direction of Nix, the Ole Miss defense has led the Southeastern Conference in tackles for loss in each of his two seasons and tied for the nation’s lead in 2008. The unit also led the league in sacks in 2008 and finished second in 2009. In a 2008 shutout of Mississippi State, the Rebel defense posted a school-record 11.0 sacks and 15.0 tackles for loss.
Nix has helped the Rebels show an improvement in pass efficiency defense from No. 12 in the SEC the season before he arrived to No. 3 in the conference and No. 11 in the nation in 2009. The Rebels have also improved in pass defense from 52nd in the NCAA in 2007 to 15th in 2009.
Ole Miss has continued to rise in scoring defense under Nix, moving from 11th in the SEC prior to his arrival to fifth in 2008 and fourth in 2009, when the squad also ranked 15th in the nation. After ranking last in the SEC in total defense in 2007, the Rebels have improved to fifth in each of Nix’s two seasons as defensive coordinator.
Nix’s first season with the Rebels saw the rush defense improve from 11th in the SEC to second, and fourth in the nation.
Under Nix’s leadership, two Rebels earned All-America honors in 2008, as defensive tackle Peria Jerry was named a first team All-American and defensive end Greg Hardy was a third-team pick. Jerry and Hardy also earned first and second team All-SEC accolades, respectively. In 2009, junior defensive tackle Jerrell Powe earned second team All-SEC honors, and linebacker D.T. Shackelford was named to the SEC All-Freshman team.
Nix’s first Ole Miss defense produced a pair of NFL draft picks. Jerry was a first-round selection of the Atlanta Falcons, while safety Jamarca Sanford was chosen in the seventh round by the Minnesota Vikings.