GREENVILLE, N.C. - Dave Nichol, who has served an active role on spread scheme offensive staffs that have made a combined eight bowl game appearances since 2000, has been named outside receivers coach at East Carolina University according to an announcement from head football coach Ruffin McNeill Thursday.
Before his appointment at ECU, Nichol spent five seasons at Pac-12 Conference member Arizona. After arriving in Tucson as a graduate assistant in 2007, he was quickly promoted to full-time status as the Wildcats' outside receivers coach a year later before adding inside receiver responsibilities in 2011.
"Dave brings high-level competition experience from his involvement in the Pac-12," McNeill said. "Dave has also established himself as a great recruiter and a great developer of players, and his understanding of our offense reaches from A to Z. We are absolutely thrilled to have Dave join the Pirate family."
While working with the offensive line during his initial campaign, Nichol assisted in the installation and operation of UA's spread attack. His efforts helped boost offensive production by 130 yards per game over the previous system and arguably provided a foundation for a run of three consecutive postseason games.
Nichol’s transition into a leadership capacity with the Wildcats' receiving corps vaulted Arizona's passing game into national prominence in just three seasons. After standing 36th and 48th nationally in 2008 and 2009, respectively, UA was ninth in 2010 after averaging 307.7 air yards per game. The Wildcats improved to third last fall with a clip of 370.8 behind the play of quarterback Nick Foles and receiver Juron Criner.
Criner, one Nichol’s prized pupils, ranked 15th among all active FBS receivers (receptions) at the end of his career. In 50 games, he caught 209 passes for 2,859 yards and 32 touchdowns - a number which stood fifth nationally - and as a senior in 2011, was 20th in receptions per game with a 6.8 average.
In addition to his receiver duties, Nichol also served as Arizona's sideline wigwag man on game day relaying play signals from coordinators to the quarterback.
Nichol spent the 2006 season at Baylor as a staff assistant contributing to the implementation of a spread offense that helped the Bears set numerous school single-season passing records, including yards, completions, completion percentage and touchdowns. One of his players, Justin Fenty, earned The Sporting News Big XII All-Freshman honors as a receiver while Nichol worked with the unit's inside pass catchers.
He enjoyed three bowl appearances as an offensive line assistant at alma mater Texas Tech before his move to Waco. While with the Red Raiders from 2003 to 2005, Nichol was part of an explosive unit that topped the nation in passing each season and shattered numerous school, conference and NCAA records.
Nichol was passing game coordinator, quarterbacks and receivers coach at Cisco (Texas) Junior College in 2002, directing a group that led the Southwest Junior College Football Conference in passing and finished second in total offense.
He was a football letterman as a receiver at Texas Tech, and worked as a student coach on the Red Raider staff after completing his playing career. Nichol assisted with quarterbacks and receivers during a pair of bowl seasons, which included a matchup against East Carolina in the 2000 galleryfurniture.com Bowl
Nichol, 35, earned his bachelor's degree in exercise sports sciences from Texas Tech in 1999 before following with a master's in interdisciplinary studies from the same institution three years later.
A native of Chicago, Ill., Nichol graduated from Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas (Texas) before enrolling at Texas Tech.
Nichol immediately replaces Pat Washington, who resigned last month to take a position on the Kentucky staff after accepting the ECU post in early January.