UNT defensive line coach Mike Nelson, a long-time college assistant who spent the last five seasons with the Mean Green, is retiring, head coach Dan McCarney confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Nelson was known for his endless energy throughout his tenure with the Mean Green and helped UNT build a standout defense that played a key role in the Mean Green’s breakout 9-4 season capped by a win over UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
“What a way to go out,” McCarney said. “We were nationally ranked this season in so many categories defensively and won a bowl game.”
Nelson worked with McCarney for 10 years at Iowa State. He came to UNT during Todd Dodge’s tenure as the Mean Green’s head coach and was retained by McCarney when he took over the program before the 2011 season.
UNT posted 39 sacks and allowed just 120.5 rushing yards a game in 2013. Defensive end Aaron Bellazin was named to the All-Conference USA second team.
McCarney said that he knew that Nelson might retire for the last year and has already lined up several candidates to talk to about becoming UNT’s next defensive line coach.
McCarney expects to have a new coach in place within the next few days.
McCarney and defensive coordinator John Skladany will handle Nelson’s recruits and his recruiting responsibilities over the next few days until a new assistant is in place. The dead period for recruiting ends on Wednesday.