UNLV football handed the keys to former Missouri head coach Barry Odom to lead the UNLV football team.
After getting the position on Dec. 6, 2022, Odom created his coaching staff which includes nine new coaches and two returning coaches from last season. Odom hired Brennan Marion as his offensive coordinator, Mike Scherer as defensive coordinator and James Shibest as special teams coordinator.
Odom said he focused his hiring process on his assistants not just being able to coach, but the quality of the person and how well they can recruit players.
“I wanted great men of value and character and putting the staff together,” Odom said. “I wanted guys that would be tremendous teachers, recruiters and also figures in our student athletes lives that they could look at as an example of how to become better husbands, better sons, better brothers, better teammates.”
Initially Odom hired Bobby Pertino as the offensive coordinator, but his tenure at UNLV lasted 21 days before he left for Texas A&M.
Pertino was replaced by Brennan Marion shortly after as both offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Marion was previously the passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach at Texas during their 2022 campaign. Marion’s “Go-Go Offense” helped Texas finish top 25 in scoring and Odom hopes UNLV will use it to improve their offense, which finished 85th in scoring last year.
“I had a really good feel for who he was as a man, as a coach and as a recruiter. In all three of those areas he hit for me and I was anxious to try to get him hired,” said Odom.
Odom hired Scherer as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Scherer previously was the linebackers coach at Arkansas and will bring his SEC expertise to the Mountain West as a coordinator for UNLV.
For special teams coordinator Odom hired Shibest, who previously was a Special Teams Coach at four division-one FBS schools before UNLV. Shibest coached multiple NFL special teams players including Jake Elliot at Memphis and Joey Slye at Virginia Tech.
“I think he is the best special teams coordinator in all of football,” Odom said.
The other assistant coaches on offense are Vance Vice, Cornell Ford, Del Alexander and Nate Longshore.
Longshore will be returning to UNLV Football as a tight ends coach and is the only assistant coach on offense that will be returning to the Rebels for the 2023 campaign. Last season the tight ends were primarily used as run blockers. In the passing game they combined for 18 receptions for 189 yards.
Vice was hired by Odom to be the offensive line coach. His last coaching position was at Virginia Tech, where he was the offensive line coach from 2016 to 2021. Vice has experience coaching a first round pick in Christian Darrisaw and in his tenure at Virginia Tech, the Hookies rushed for a school record 5.58 yards per carry in 2020.
Odom is also bringing Ford, his running backs coach, from his head coaching days in Missouri. Since Missouri, Ford coached at Toledo as a Volunteer Coach in 2021 and Cornerback coach in 2021-2022.
Alexander is coming back to UNLV for his third stint as an assistant coach for UNLV Football. He has NFL experience as a senior offensive assistant and running backs coach for the San Diego Chargers. Alexander has coached 17 bowl games in his career and he will be an important piece of the puzzle to get UNLV Football back to a bowl game.
The assistant coaches that will be on defense are Ricky Logo, Akeem Davis and Damon Magazu.
Magazu will return to the coaching staff as the safeties coach. He is the only one returning on the defensive side of the ball. Magazu will return as safeties coach with both of the Rebels starting safeties, Jonathan Baldwin and Jordyn Morgan, coming off of productive seasons. That familiarity in the safety room will keep the chemistry for the 2023 campaign.
Odom hired Logo as the defensive line coach. He is an experienced defensive line coach who has coached defense since 1995. Logo has SEC, Mountain West and Pac-12 experience under his belt, and will use this experience and his prior experience to help UNLV close the gaps and get more sacks.
Davis will be coaching the cornerbacks in the 2023 season. He played in the NFL as a cornerback for 21 games. Davis is a coach that can be a great fit for Nohl Williams if he decides to return to the Rebels. Davis played special teams in the NFL and paired with special teams coach Scherer, Williams can make improvements as a defensive back and a kick returner.
A college football program is not complete without a strength and conditioning coach to get a team fit to lay the lumber.
Odom hired Jeff Fish to strengthen up the Rebels as the strength and conditioning coach. Fish has experience as a coach in the NFL and the NBA with the Atlanta Falcons and the Phoenix Suns. Fish will use his major league experience to get the Rebels ready to play in the shape of professionals.
Odom hired a balanced staff of coaches that have experience in all aspects of football. He wants a staff member to be a role model to the community to represent the city of Las Vegas while putting the program on a winning track.