Dave Nichol, who was hired in December as USC’s inside receivers coach/associate head coach for the offense, died Friday in McKinney, Texas, USC announced. He was 45 years old.
Nichol had been out of the team for an unspecified period of time, but it was only on Monday that the show made it public that he was dealing with an unspecified medical issue.
TrojanSports.com has learned that Nichol was battling cancer.
“We are heartbroken and devastated,” USC head football coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “Dave was a great 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 greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. We as a program look forward to playing and training for him as we go forward.”
Nichol is survived by his father, Robert Nichol Sr., and his brothers Robert Nichol Jr. and family and Jimmy Nichol and family. Information on a memorial service for Nichol is pending.
Nichol and Riley worked together for three years at East Carolina and also crossed paths at Texas Tech early in their careers.
Riley tweeted: “My heart is broken. I met Dave Nichol in 2002. He gave me the opportunity to be a college player and coach. he taught me everything. It’s safe to say he wouldn’t be here without Dave.”
Riley’s tweet included an undated photo of Nichol with USC staff.
Nichol came to USC after serving as wide receivers coach at Mississippi State the past two seasons after four years at Washington State.
Before that, Nichol was at East Carolina for four years between 2012 and 2015, serving as outside receivers coach for three seasons with Riley, who was the offensive coordinator there at the time. Nichol then took over as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2015 when Riley left for Oklahoma.
He spent 5 seasons (2007-11) in Arizona, starting as an offensive graduate assistant in 2007, working with the offensive line. He was promoted to outside receivers coach in 2008 and added inside receivers in 2009. He began his coaching career as a student in 2000 and 2001 at Texas Tech, his alma mater, working with quarterbacks and wide receivers. open. He then spent 2002 as passing game coordinator, quarterbacks coach and wide receivers coach at Cisco (Tex.) Junior College, 3 seasons (2003-05) at Texas Tech as an offensive graduate assistant and 2006 as an offensive graduate assistant at Baylor. .
He was a wide receiver at Texas Tech, lettering in 1999.
USC announced earlier this week that Luke Huard, initially hired as an offensive analyst last month, had stepped in as interim wide receivers coach.
It is not known exactly when Nichol learned of his cancer diagnosis or walked away from USC. He was the only assistant coach not available to speak to reporters during a news conference to introduce the new staff in early February, but no details of his absence were released at the time.