Paul Nichols spent one season (2012) at Illinois as the director of player personnel for the Fighting Illini football team before moving on to become head coach at Davison University, his alma mater. At Illinois, he coordinated on-campus recruiting efforts and relations with high school coaches, among other duties, for head coach Tim Beckman and the Fighting Illini staff.
Prior to coming to Illinois, Nichols spent three seasons on Beckman's staff at Toledo as co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach, where he played a vital role in the transformation of the Rockets' defense.
In 2011, Nichols helped guide the Rockets to a 9-4 record and a win over Air Force in the Military Bowl. Toledo was 7-1 in the MAC and shared the West Division title. Defensively, the Rockets forced 30 turnovers on the season (ranking 16th nationally) and ranked third nationally in turnover margin (+1.23). In 2010, UT increased its forced turnovers from 21 to 34, the fifth-highest takeaway total in the nation, as the Rockets made their first bowl appearance in five years.
Previous to his stint at UT, Nichols served as an assistant at Marshall University for three seasons, where he coached All-Conference USA safety Curtis Keyes (2006) and All-Freshman cornerback Zearrick Matthews (2006).
Prior to his tenure at Marshall, Nichols completed two seasons as a graduate assistant at Ohio State from 2004-05 where he assisted with the defensive backs and defensive line.
A native of Dunwoody, Ga., Nichols graduated from Davidson College with bachelor's degrees in political science and history in 2003. While at Davidson, Nichols set school records for career passing yards (5,822), completions (465) and touchdown passes (51), and compiled a 22-6 record as a starting quarterback. Nichols was a first-team All-Pioneer League and a first-team Pioneer League All-Academic selection as a senior, and was named honorable mention All-America by Don Hansen's Football Gazette.
Nichols and his wife, Lauran, have a son, Drew, who was born May 26, 2011.
THE NICHOLS FILE