Michigan's filled their final hole on the defensive side of the ball:
OFFICIAL: @CoachJim4UM names Shaun Nua as new defensive line coach.
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) January 17, 2019
This was said to be official yesterday but as Ben McDaniels seems to be finding out, better not to count those chickens before they've hatched twitter eggs.
[After the JUMP: the bio]
Nua was a DE at BYU in the early aughts and had a few years in the NFL after being drafted in the seventh round. He went back to his alma mater to GA for three years before landing the DL job at Navy, which he held for six years. He bumped up to Arizona State last year, and now lands at Michigan.
Nua continues a theme: youth. Michigan's added four assistants (pending McDaniels becoming official); all are in their 30s. Many of these guys are wild cards and Nua's no exception. Recruiting to Navy is a different world than recruiting to Michigan and it's tough to judge how he's developing guys when academy teams are operating from such a different POV than "did he get enough guys drafted and have good stats?" One season at ASU doesn't tell you much more, especially when it's year one of Herm.
Like Gattis, Nua is a guy who seems to be rapidly rising through the ranks. His somewhat extended Navy tenure could have been much shorter if he was inclined:
“Shaun is a great coach and an even greater person,” Niumatalolo said when contacted on Monday. “We are really going to miss Shaun. He will be very tough to replace.”
Nua briefly accepted the defensive line position at Virginia under head coach Bronco Mendenhall in December, 2015. That was when Niumatalolo was considering replacing Mendenhall at BYU.
After Niumatalolo turned down the BYU job and decided to remain at Navy, Nua changed his mind and also elected to stay in Annapolis.
“Shaun’s had offers almost every year he’s been here. We were very fortunate to keep him as long as we did,” Niumatalolo said. “Shaun felt this opportunity was too good to pass up. I wish him all the best and know he will do great things in his career.”
And he seems like a genuine dude:
Nua became choked up when contacted by The Capital on Monday morning and asked to discuss the decision to leave Navy for Arizona State. After taking a moment to compose himself, Nua said he will always cherish the time spent in Annapolis.
“This whole Navy experience has been nothing but a blessing to my life. This is a really, really special place, one I will never forget,” he said. “They talk about the Navy family and it is so true. All the coaches here took me under their wing and treated me like a brother. I felt like a father figure to all these incredible players I got to coach. I will forever be grateful for my time at Navy.”
Nua, a native of Pago Pago, should help Michigan recruit Pacific Islanders amongst others to their DL. And if there's anything you learn with six years at Navy it's how to get your guys technique up to compensate for their general lack of size. Seems like a good bet. Another good bet: in five years he'll be a better coach than Greg Mattison.