Rich Nagy finished his fourth season as defensive coordinator in as well as working primarily with the linebackers.
The fourth year proved to be the best thus far for Nagy and the Monarch defense, as the group finished second in Conference USA in scoring defense and tied for second with 34 sacks.
Senior linebackers TJ Ricks and Anthony Wilson teamed up for a combined 201 tackles, while Ricks became the first ODU defensive player to earn first-team all conference honors.
Sophomore defensive end Oshane Ximines broke the school record for sacks in a single season, while Bunmi Rotimi tied Ronnie Cameron's career mark for career sacks.
The group featured five former walk-ons that developed into solid starters; Rotimi, Ricks, Wilson, Sean Carter and Brandon Addison.
In his third year overseeing the defense, overall points per game and rushing yards totals were down while sacks and interceptions were up. Linebacker TJ Ricks led Conference USA and set an ODU single season record with 123 tackles while safety Fellonte Misher was sixth in the league with 99 tackles and tied the C-USA lead with four interceptions. Ricks was also named a semi-finalist for the Brandon Burlsworth Trophy given to the best player who started his career as a walk-on.
Redshirt freshman Oshane Ximines led the Monarchs with five sacks and was named to the C-USA All-Freshmen team. As a team, ODU produced 26 sacks, eight more than last year's total.
Nagy helped senior linebacker D.J. Simon earn All-Conference USA honors after leading the Monarchs with 89 tackles and 12 tackles for loss. All three starting linebackers had 75 tackles or more, incluidng TJ Ricks with 80 and Martez Simpson with 75, despite missing the opener with an injury.
The ODU defense finished tied for ninth in the country with 14 fumbles recovered as they forced 18 fumbles. TJ Ricks led Conference USA with four forced fumbles.
Nagy coached a secondary that featured three new starters in 2013. Safeties Fellonte Misher and Andre Simmons were the top two tackler on the team while defensive backs were involved in eight of the 17 turnovers forced by the defense.
The ODU defense had 19 tacks and 78 tackles for loss. The defense undertook a youth movement, as seven freshmen or sophomores started multiple games, while sophomores Fellonte Misher and Andrew Everett and juniors Andre Simmons and Reggie Owens were the only defensive players to start all 12 contests.
“I am excited to be reunited and coaching again with Rich Nagy. He and I worked together at Maine from 2001-2005. We won back-to-back championships in 2001 and 2002 with Rich as the defensive coordinator and me as the offensive coordinator. I have watched up close his ability to teach technique and make adjustments on game day which will benefit our defense immediately,” Wilder said. “This past season Rich was the defensive coordinator at Western Michigan. In his only season as the defensive coordinator, he took a defense that was 12th in total defense in 2011 to fifth in total defense in 2012 in the Mid-American Conference. He has tremendous experience with defense, special teams and recruiting that I know will be a benefit to our program moving forward.”
Nagy joins ODU after spending the last three years at Western Michigan and the defensive coordinator in 2012.
“I’m just real excited to join the ODU football family. This is an exciting time for the program and I’m thrilled to be a part of it,” Nagy said. “I’ve known Coach Wilder for a long time, he’s a good friend and I’m excited to work with him again.”
Nagy, a native of Fairfield, Conn., came to WMU from Murray State University in Kentucky, where he served as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the Racers from December 2005 through the 2008 season. His Murray State defense allowed just 328.4 yards per game in his last season and linebacker Nate Williams was named to both the Walter Camp and Associated Press All-American first teams, was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award, voted All- Ohio Valley Conference’s (OVC) first team and selected the OVC Defensive Player of the Year.
Prior to Murray State, Nagy spent five seasons (2001-2005) at CAA-member, Maine as defensive coordinator, linebackers and secondary coach. During his tenure the Black Bears: ranked among the top four teams in defense in four of his five seasons; captured back-to-back Atlantic 10 co-championships and advanced to the NCAA FCS Playoff quarterfinals in both 2001 and 2002; recorded a school record 11 victories in 2002; posted the first two playoff wins in school history; tallied the first victory over a FBS opponent, downing Mississippi State, 9-7, in 2004; and Black Bear players received All-Atlantic 10 honors 21 times. In 2002 Maine led the Atlantic 10 in defense, allowing just 267.6 yards per game and 15.4 points per outing, with both ranking ninth in the country. American Football Monthly named Nagy the FCS Defensive Coordinator of the Year in 2002.
A standout running back at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. from 1983 through 1987 and most valuable player in 1986, Nagy began his coaching career as a part-time secondary coach at Trinity following graduation. In 1988 he served as a graduate-assistant coach at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., working with the inside linebackers, before moving on to Union College in Schenectady, N.Y in 1989 as a graduate-assistant working with the outside linebackers. The Dutchmen of Union advanced to the 1989 Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl, the Division III Championship Game.
Nagy spent the next two seasons as outside linebackers coach and assisted with the special teams units at the University of Maine. In the spring of 1992 he began five-year tenure at Allegheny as special teams coordinator and linebackers coach, and was promoted to associate head coach in his final year there. During that time the Gators captured three North Coast Athletic Conference titles and made three Division III Playoff appearances. In February 1997, Nagy moved on to the University of South Dakota as special teams coordinator and secondary coach for one season before coming back east to start a three-year stint at Fordham University in the Bronx, N.Y. He served as defensive coordinator and secondary coach during the 1998 season, secondary coach and recruiting coordinator the following two years before moving back to Maine in the spring of 2001.
2014 - Present - Old Dominion University - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers
All-Conference Monarchs Under Coach Nagy
2016: TJ Ricks - First-Team All-C-USA
"Coach Nagy had a tremendous year leading our defense in 2016. The improvement has been steady and impressive in the four years Rich has been our coordinator. Rich and the staff developed a young group in the No. 2 scoring defense in C-USA. I am confident our defense and our linebackers will continue to improve under his leadership."
- Head Coach Bobby Wilder on Coach Nagy