Michigan has found its replacement for long time defensive line coach Greg Mattison. Tuesday afternoon, following two new staff hires a week ago, U-M hired former Arizona State defensive line coach Shaun Nua to the same position, a source confirmed to The Wolverine Lounge.
The University announced the deal as official Thursday afternoon.
OFFICIAL: @CoachJim4UM names Shaun Nua as new defensive line coach.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) January 17, 2019
After adding Josh Gattis (34) and Anthony Campanile (36) to staff last week, Jim Harbaugh stuck with the not-over-the-hill-yet trend by adding Nua (37). Hiring young head coaches is the NFL’s newest trend, that same strategy has been popular for years in hiring college football assistants. After losing Mattison (69) to Ohio State, U-M hired a coach who is half the age with some serious recruiting chops on the west side.
In his playing career, Nua played at BYU for four seasons, and spent three in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Before accepting the job with Michigan, he spent six seasons as Navy’s d-line coach and one with the Sun Devils at the same position.
His name started to make waves in coaching circles during his stint at Navy. He was profiled by the Capital Gazette, while coaching the Midshipmen, as an “assistant coach on the rise.”
Here’s a bit more on Nua and the timeline that led to Tuesday’s decision to hire him.
A source close to both sides added this regarding Nua: “A young coach with tons of passion. An ace recruiter who will give U-M strong ties on the west coast, and with players of Samoan descent. He’s very energetic, gets the most out of each player.”
Herm Edwards, Arizona State’s head coach, said this after he hired Nua: “Shaun Nua is a well-respected and talented young coach with a bright future ahead of him,” said Edwards. “He is known for the high energy he brings while coaching his players and also for being an incredibly caring and compassionate person off the field. He is exactly the kind of person we want coaching at Arizona State.”
The tide shifted late last week in Jim Harbaugh’s search for a new defensive assistant, a source said. Following Mattison’s departure after eight seasons (13 combined), a couple favorites stood out to the fan base, namely Packers defensive line coach, Jerry Montgomery.
That being said, there were two important U-M staffers pushing for Nua’s hiring from the start. A source told me last week that if Don Brown liked Nua during the interview process, Harbaugh and Co. would extend the offer. As we know now, all of that inevitably occurred and Michigan’s got a new defensive line coach.