University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday the hiring of Doug Nussmeier as Alabama's offensive coordinator. Nussmeier spent the last three seasons on the staff at the University of Washington, where he held the same title. He takes over for Jim McElwain, who was recently named the head coach at Colorado State.
"We are excited to have Doug as our new offensive coordinator at Alabama," said head coach Nick Saban. "Not only does he have a good deal of experience as a coach and a player both at the college and NFL level, but he also brings a great passion for the game and a lot of energy and enthusiasm. At Washington, they were very productive on offense, especially with their quarterbacks. Jake Locker finished his career as one of the top passers in Washington history and was Tennessee's first round pick. Keith Price stepped in as a first-year starter last season with very little experience, and not only set school records, but also ranked seventh nationally in pass efficiency. I think Doug will be a great fit with us and we are looking forward to the Nussmeier family joining our staff at the University of Alabama."
Last year, Washington's offense scored 57 touchdowns and 431 points, the second-highest totals in school history (behind only the 1991 National Championship team). The 2011 season marks for passing yards (3,322) and total offense (5,328) were also second in UW record books. Nussmeier helped guide sophomore quarterback Keith Price to one of the top individual seasons at Washington as the first-year starter broke records for passing touchdowns (33), completion percentage (.669) and passing efficiency (161.9). That efficiency rating was seventh nationally and second in the Pac 12 behind only Andrew Luck of Stanford. The Huskies scored 30 or more points in nine of 13 games and also featured an outstanding ground game led by Chris Polk, who ranked 16th nationally with an average of 114.5 rushing yards per game.
"I'm both honored and excited to have the opportunity to coach at the University of Alabama," said Nussmeier. "I'm looking forward to jumping right in with recruiting and then getting to know the players and everyone involved with the program. Coach Saban and his staff have obviously done a tremendous job here and I want to do my part to help continue that success. I've heard a lot about Alabama football in terms of the history, the tradition, the great fans, and I can already see why this is such a special place. I want to thank Coach Sarkisian, the players, the staff and everyone at the University of Washington for all they did for me and for our family while we were there. It was a great experience and we have great memories from our time at the UW."
In 2010, Nussmeier oversaw a balanced attack that finished the season with 2,238 rushing yards and 2,475 passing yards. The offense was led by Polk at tailback, whose 1,415 rushing yards were second-most in UW single-season history. Additionally, Nussmeier mentored quarterback Jake Locker, who finished his career ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in nearly every major quarterbacking category. Locker was the No. 8 overall pick in last year's NFL Draft, selected by Tennessee Titans.
In his first season at Washington, Nussmeier's offense made tremendous strides over the previous year. The Huskies scored 26.1 points per game, nearly doubling their average from the previous year while total offense was up more than 110 yards per game over the 2008 average. Nussmeier also spent his first season coaching Locker, who had one of the most productive seasons in Husky history. Locker passed for 2,800 yards, the third-highest total in school history, while his offense also boasted a 1,000-yard rusher in Polk. Nussmeier came to the UW after one season as the offensive coordinator at Fresno State.
He joined the Fresno State staff after spending two seasons as the quarterbacks coach for the St. Louis Rams on the staff of head coach Scott Linehan. He coached Marc Bulger, who was named to his second Pro Bowl in 2006, finishing with 4,301 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and only eight interceptions.
Before his time with the Rams, Nussmeier was the QB coach at Michigan State for three seasons. In 2005, MSU quarterback Drew Stanton passed for a school-record 3,415 yards, breaking a record set by another Nussmeier pupil, Jeff Smoker, who threw for 3,395 yards in 2003. Smoker also set MSU records for completions (302), attempts (488) and passing touchdowns (21).
Nussmeier, who played in both the NFL and the Canadian Football League, began his coaching career in the CFL. In 2001, he was the quarterbacks coach for the British Columbia Lions and then, in 2002, served as the offensive coordinator and QBs coach for the Ottawa Renegades.
During his outstanding collegiate career at Idaho, Nussmeier passed for 10,824 yards and averaged 309.1 yards per game in total offense for his career. Along with Steve McNair, Daunte Culpepper and Colin Kaepernick, he is one of only four QBs in NCAA history to total 10,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards rushing during his career. He set Idaho school records for TD passes (91), passing efficiency (154.4), completion percentage (.609) and total offense (12,054 yards). In 1993, he won the Walter Payton Award, Division I-AA's version of the Heisman Trophy. That year, he led Idaho to an 11-3 record and set a school record with 33 TD passes. He was also the Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year in 1992, when the Vandals went 9-3 and won the conference crown. Nussmeier was inducted into the University of Idaho Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 1994, Nussmeier was drafted in the fourth round by the New Orleans Saints. He played four years (1994-97) with the Saints and one with the Indianapolis Colts (1998). In 2000, he helped the BC Lions to the Grey Cup Championship. The Oswego, Ore., native attended Lakeridge High School and earned his bachelor's degree in business and marketing from Idaho in 1994. He and his wife, Christi, have two sons, Garrett and Colton, and a daughter, Ashlynn.