The Nevada Wolf Pack football on-field coaching staff is now complete.
Head coach Brian Polian announced Friday that former Alabama defensive back Ricky Thomas has been named the Pack's cornerbacks coach.
Thomas, who coached at Georgia State last season and has also coached 15 seasons in the NFL, replaces James Ward, who is now an assistant athletic director at Nevada. Ward had coached Pack cornerbacks since 2008.
“We are thrilled to add Ricky Thomas to our coaching staff," Polian said in a statement released by the Wolf Pack athletic department. "Ricky is a quality person and he will have a very positive impact on our student-athletes.
“He brings to us a wealth of football experience from all levels of the game, having played in the SEC and coached in the high school, major college, and NFL ranks. With the addition of Ricky, we feel like we have assembled one of the finest staffs in the country here at Nevada.”
Thomas coached the defensive front for Bill Curry at Georgia State in 2012. He also spent 10 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, where Polian's father, Bill, was an executive. He coached tight ends for eight of those seasons in Indianapolis.
Thomas is the second new Wolf Pack coach with Bill Polian ties at Indianapolis. Former Colts defensive line coach Bill Teerlinck will coach the Pack defensive line.
Thomas also coached five seasons with head coach Tony Dungy in Tampa Bay, coaching the Buccaneers’ tight ends for three seasons and working with the running backs and special teams for two years.
Thomas' coaching career began in 1988 at Marion Military Institute junior college, where he coached defensive backs. From 1989-92, he worked at Alabama as an academic adviser for football and men's basketball.
Thomas, a four-year starter at strong safety at Alabama (1983-86), was a strength and conditioning assistant at Kentucky in 1996 and coached defensive backs at Gardner Webb in 1997.
Thomas played for head coach Ray Perkins at Alabama (Curry took over Alabama in 1987, the year after Thomas left), missing the Bear Bryant era (1958-82) by one season. The Crimson Tide went 32-15-1 in Thomas' four seasons, going to three bowl games (two Sun Bowls, one Aloha Bowl) and winning all three.
Curry, who retired from coaching after the 2012 season, hired Thomas at Georgia State. Georgia State's program is just three seasons old. Curry had coached Thomas' brother Andre at Georgia Tech and was the Director of Leadership at the Baylor School in Chattanooga Tenn., where Thomas' sister taught Latin.
The only position that hasn't been announced as filled on Polian's staff is Director of Football Operations. Ken Wilson, a veteran of 19 on-field coaching seasons on the defensive side of the ball at Nevada, was going to take over the football operations position (for departed Dave Brown, who is now the offensive coordinator at Fort Lewis College) but Wilson left the program this month to coach linebackers at Washington State.
Polian's Wolf Pack staff:
- Nick Rolovich: Offensive coordinator
- Jim Hofher: Assistant head coach, wide receivers
- Scottie Hazelton: Defensive coordinator
- Jeff Genyk: Special teams, running backs
- Ron Hudson: Offensivge line
- James Spady: Tight ends
- Bill Teerlinck: Defensive line
- Mike Bradeson: Safeties
- Ricky Thomas: Cornerbacks
- Andy Vaughn: Director of Player Personnel