USC assistant football coach Dave Nichol dies at 45
USC assistant football coach Dave Nichol, who Trojans coach Lincoln Riley credited him giving him the opportunity to be a college player and coach, died Friday at age 45 in McKinney, Texas, the university announced.
The cause of death was not revealed. Riley said Monday that Nichol was away from the team while focusing on a medical matter. The Trojans began spring practice Tuesday.
Riley tweeted late Friday afternoon that he met Nichol in 2002 and he “gave me my shot to be a college player and coach.”
According to his USC biography, Riley was a walk-on quarterback at Texas Tech in the spring and summer of 2003 when Nichol was an offensive graduate assistant with the Red Raiders.
Riley began his coaching career as a student assistant at Texas Tech from 2003-05, working with the offense. Nichol was an offensive graduate assistant with the Red Raiders from 2003-05.
“Taught me everything,” Riley tweeted. “Safe to say I wouldn’t be here today without Dave. 1 of the best/most unselfish people ever. Love you & miss you brother.”
Nichol was hired in December as USC’s inside wide receivers coach and associate head coach for offense after being Mississippi State’s inside receivers coach in the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
“We are heartbroken and devastated,” Riley said in a statement. “Dave was such a tremendous human being and a fantastic football coach. He absolutely loved the game and constantly poured his heart and soul into his teams.
“He will be dearly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. We, as a program, look forward to playing and coaching for him as we move forward.”
Nichol is survived by his father, Robert Nichol Sr., and brothers Robert Nichol Jr. and Jimmy Nichol.
Information regarding a memorial service for Nichol was pending.
Nichol began his football coaching career as a student coach in 2000 and 2001 at Texas Tech, his alma mater, working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers. He was the passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and receivers coach at Cisco (Texas) Junior College in 2002, an offensive graduate assistant at Texas Tech from 2003-05 and offensive graduate assistant at Baylor in 2006.
Nichol was an offensive graduate assistant at Arizona in 2007, working with the offensive line. He was promoted to outside receivers coach in 2008 and added the inside receivers in 2009. He remained on the Wildcats’ staff through the 2011 season.
Nichol was outside receivers coach at East Carolina from 2012-14 and its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015. Nichol was at Washington State from 2016 to 2019, the first season coaching the wide receivers and then handling the inside receivers the final three years.
Nichol was a wide receiver at Texas Tech, lettering in 1999.