UF tabs Doug Nussmeier as Gators new offensive coordinator

Nussmeier was a Division I-AA star quarterback who has coached at the NFL, CFL and college level

New UF coach Jim McElwain has hired Doug Nussmeier to become the Gators new offensive coordinator, the school announced Wednesday.

Nussmeier spent the 2014 season at Michigan, but became one of the leading candidates to run McElwain's offense at UF when the Wolverines fired head coach Brady Hoke.

Nussmeier worked with McElwain a decade ago at Michigan State and later would follow McElwain at Alabama, where he was Nick Saban's offensive coordinator in 2012-13. Nussmeier was offensive coordinator at Fresno State in 2008, a season after McElwain ran the Bulldogs' offense.

“Doug and I have worked together on the same staff and I’ve known him for years,” McElwain said in a news release from UF. “We are like thinkers in that he will adapt to the players we have in the program and develop them as we continue to evolve.”

Nussmeier, 44, also hails from the same region as McElwain. Nussmeier is a native of Portland, Ore., who was a Division I-AA star quarterback at the University of Idaho. McElwain, 52, is a Montana native who played quarterback at Eastern Washington outside of Spokane.

Now the two will look to turn around one of the worst offenses in the SEC the past four seasons under former coach Will Muschamp. The Gators, long known for their high-scoring, exciting offenses, ranked last in the SEC in passing in 2012, last in scoring in 2013 and currently are 13th of 14 SEC teams in total offense.

“I’m excited to reunite with Coach Mac -- we obviously have a long history and share similar philosophies,” Nussmeier said in a statement from UF. “I’m honored to join The Gator Nation and work for one of the most storied programs in all of college football.”

Nussmeier was a record-setting quarterback at Idaho and remains one of only five quarterbacks in NCAA history to throw for at least 10,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards. He still ranks 10th among Division I-AA quarterbacks in total yards per game (309.1).

Nussmeier went on to play professionally, starting two games for the New Orleans Saints during the 1990s.

Nussmeier has coached quarterbacks in the CFL, NFL and in college, including at Michigan State when McElwain coached the wide receivers and served as assistant head coach to John L. Smith. In East Lansing, he coached Drew Stanton, now of the Arizona Cardinals.

After parting ways with McElwain and leaving East Lansing, Nussmeier coached two seasons with the St. Louis Rams (2006-07). In 2006, Marc Bulger made the Pro Bowl after throwing for 4,301 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Nussmeier served as offensive coordinator at Fresno State and Washington (2009-11) before Saban hired him at Alabama. Under Nussmeier, Jake Locker became the eight pick in the 2011 NFL draft.

The Crimson Tide won the 2012-13 BCS championship in Nussmeier's first season. Quarterback AJ McCarron threw for a school-record 30 touchdowns, including four in the national title game against Notre Dame, and just three interceptions to become a Heisman finalist.

Nussmeier went to Michigan in 2014, but the Wolverines finished 5-7 leading to Hoke's firing.

Last week, McElwain hired Geoff Collins as the Gators' new defensive coordinator.

Email Edgar Thompson at egthompson@orlandosentinel.com. Read the Swamp Things blog at www.orlandosentinel.com/swampthings. Follow our UF coverage on Twitter @osgators.

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