The Colorado State football team has its next head coach, straight from a Mountain West competitor.
The Rams have hired Nevada’s Jay Norvell as their next head coach, replacing Steve Addazio after he was fired Dec. 2.
Norvell will be publicly introduced at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday inside the Iris and Michael Smith Alumni Center on the east side of Canvas Stadium. CSU fans are welcome to attend.
“From the outset, the interest in our coaching position was significant, but one name and resume stood above the rest from the very beginning — Jay Norvell,” athletic director Joe Parker said in a news release. “When you combine his wealth of coaching experience as an assistant at programs like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as five years as a successful head coach in the Mountain West, the choice was clear. I am thrilled to welcome Jay, his wife Kim, and their son Jaden to Fort Collins and Colorado State University.”
In May 2021, Norvell was named the 2020-21 College Coach of the Year by the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches. He is the first Black head coach in program history.
Norvell is in his fifth season as Nevada’s head coach, and the Wolf Pack have an 8-4 record and are scheduled to play in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 27 against Western Michigan.
He’s 33-26 at Nevada, his first head coaching job. The Wolf Pack were 3-9 in his first season, then have won seven or eight games in each of the last four and made a bowl game in each.
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Nevada quarterback Carson Strong was recently named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row.
Norvell’s Nevada is known for running an explosive offense. The Wolf Pack led the conference in scoring (37 points per game) in 2021, mostly via Strong and the passing game that averaged 366 yards per game.
In more than three decades of coaching, the 58-year-old Norvell has stops at Iowa, Northern Iowa, Wisconsin, Iowa State, the Indianapolis Colts, the Oakland Raiders, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA and Arizona State.
His name has been mentioned as a candidate for Washington, Washington State and TCU jobs during this coaching turnover cycle.
Why leave one Mountain West school for another? Resources.
CSU led the conference in football total operating expenses for 2019-20 (the last year data is publicly available), while Nevada was 10th in the league.
Further, Norvell’s base compensation was $625,000 for 2021 season while Addazio made $1.55 million, making Norvell the lowest-paid coach in the league. Addazio’s salary was set to rise to $1.6 million in 2022.
Norvell and CSU will owe Nevada a buyout of just shy of $2 million, according to copies of his contract obtained by USA Today.
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Norvell signed a new five-year contract prior to 2020 with a base compensation of $625,000, but it was reduced this year (to $619,25) as part of COVID-19 reductions.
Addazio was fired on Dec. 2 after going 4-12 in two seasons at CSU. He’s owed a $3 million buyout. His final game was a 52-10 home loss to Nevada in which Addazio was ejected in the second quarter with the Rams down 28-0.
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Jay Norvell coaching experience
2017-2021: Head Coach, Nevada
2016: Wide Receivers/Offensive Passing Game Coordinator, Arizona State
2015: Wide Receivers, Texas
2011-14: Co-Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers, Oklahoma
2008-10: Asst. Offensive Coordinator/Wide Receivers, Oklahoma
2007: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, UCLA
2004-06: Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks, Nebraska
2002-03: Tight Ends, Oakland Raiders
1998-2001: Wide Receivers, Indianapolis Colts
1995-97: Asst. Head Coach/Quarterbacks/Wide Receivers, Iowa State
1989-94: Offensive Line/Wide Receivers/Special Teams, Wisconsin
1988: Wide Receivers, Northern Iowa
1986-87: Graduate Assistant (Offense), Iowa
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