"Tyrone Nix is one of the up-and-coming, bright defensive coordinators in America," said Ole Miss head coach Houston Nutt when he selected Nix to serve that position on his first Rebel staff on Dec. 11, 2007. While also coaching the linebackers, Nix was promoted to Assistant Head Coach in January 2010.
In three seasons under Nix, the Ole Miss defense has been among the nation's best in tackles for loss and sacks. The unit tied for the nation's lead in TFLs in 2008 and topped the Southeastern Conference again in 2009, and in the sacks category, it finished No. 1 in the SEC in 2008 and No. 2 in 2009. The Rebels ranked 20th in the NCAA in both areas in 2010.
Nix has helped the Rebels show marked improvement since the season before his arrival when the team ranked either 11th of 12th in the SEC in total defense, scoring defense, rush defense and pass efficiency defense.
In 2009, Nix's squad rose to No. 3 in the conference and No. 11 in the nation in pass efficiency defense and No. 15 in the nation in both scoring defense and pass defense. The Rebels were fifth in the SEC in total defense in 2009 and 2008.
Nix's first season with the Rebels provided one of the toughest run-stopping defenses in school history. Ole Miss allowed just 85.5 ypg on the ground, which ranked second in the SEC and fourth in the nation. That season produced a pair of All-Americans in first team tackle Peria Jerry and third team end Greg Hardy.
In 2009, defensive tackle Jerrell Powe and safety Kendrick Lewis earned second team All-SEC honors, linebacker Patrick Trahan was a fourth team selection and linebacker D.T. Shackelford was named to the SEC All-Freshman team. Powe earned second team All-SEC distinction again in 2010 along with linebacker Jonathan Cornell.
Nix's Ole Miss defense has produced four NFL Draft choices, including first-round pick Jerry of the Atlanta Falcons in 2009. Safety Jamarca Sanford was also chosen in 2009 by the Minnesota Vikings, while both Lewis and Hardy were drafted in 2010 by the Kansas City Chiefs and Carolina Panthers, respectively.
In addition, three former Rebel defensive players signed NFL free agent contracts following the 2008 season and four more inked deals after 2009.
Nix has spent the past decade directing defenses for his alma mater, Southern Miss, South Carolina and now Ole Miss.
In 2007, he coached inside linebackers in addition to managing a Gamecock unit that topped the SEC and ranked fifth nationally in pass defense, allowing just 168.8 yards through the air.
The USC defense in 2006 was sixth in the SEC and 29th in the country in scoring defense, surrendering 18.7 points per game, 4.5 fewer than in 2005 despite returning just one starter. Junior college transfer Jasper Brinkley led the team in tackles and earned first team All-SEC accolades at middle linebacker.
In his first year in Columbia, Nix served as co-defensive coordinator and tutored the defensive line. Under his watch, a pair of Gamecocks, cornerback Johnathan Joseph and safety Ko Simpson, were selected in the NFL Draft. In addition, Simpson earned All-America accolades.
During his 10 years on the Southern Miss staff, Nix coached every position on defense and served as defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach the last four seasons, when the Golden Eagles' defense was among college football's toughest. From 2001-03, USM was top 15 in the nation in both scoring defense and pass efficiency defense each season.
In 2003, Southern Miss ranked No. 5 in the nation in pass defense, No. 13 in pass efficiency defense, No. 14 in scoring defense and No. 23 in total defense. Nix's coaching efforts were recognized as he was a finalist for the Broyles Award, given to the nation's outstanding assistant coach.
In 2002, Southern Miss ranked No. 4 nationally in pass efficiency defense, No. 10 in pass defense and No. 15 in scoring defense.
Nix entered the 2001 campaign with the distinction of being the youngest coordinator in the country at 29 years of age. Despite losing seven defensive starters from the previous year, Nix's 2001 USM defense finished among the NCAA leaders in scoring defense (8th), total defense (11th), pass efficiency defense (12th), rushing defense (13th) and turnover margin (21st).
In his 10-year period at Southern Miss, he mentored 12 All-Conference USA selections, four C-USA Defensive Players of the Year and six All-America selections. USM also enjoyed team success, winning four C-USA championships and earning seven postseason bowl berths.
As a player, Nix was a standout linebacker for the Golden Eagles from 1990-93 and was selected as team captain in 1993. He was one of only three true freshmen to play on the 1990 All-American Bowl team.
Nix also was named to the All-South team and the National Independent squad in both 1992 and 1993. He was inducted into the Southern Miss M-Club Hall of Fame at the Spring 2003 banquet.
A native of Attalla, Ala., Nix received his bachelor's degree in management from Southern Miss in 1995. He is married to the former Toya Phelps of Vicksburg, Miss., who holds both bachelor's and master's degrees from Southern Miss. The couple has one son, Tyvari, and one daughter, Tiah.
His brother, Derrick, was also a standout player at USM and joins him on the Ole Miss staff, serving as runnings back coach.
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