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Get to know Coach Nielsen

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Published on Mar 26, 2012

Ryan Nielsen, a former USC defensive lineman who has coached at Ole Miss and most recently Tennessee-Martin, was named Northern Illinois' defensive line coach on December 22, 2010 by NIU head football coach Dave Doeren.

Nielsen came to Northern Illinois after one season at UT-Martin, where he served as defensive line coach and special teams coordinator. Skyhawks' defensive end Tim Cox earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors in 2010 under Nielsen's tutelage.

The Simi Valley, Calif. native went to UT-Martin after two seasons at Central Connecticut State, where he coached a pair of all-conference honorees, including 2008 league sacks leader Ray Saunders, and the 2009 Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year, Lawton Arnold.

Nielsen coached the defensive line at Ole Miss from March 2005 to December 2007, where his pupils included future NFL-er Jamie Mitchell, freshman All-American Marcus Tillman (2006), 2007 Southeastern Conference sack leader Greg Hardy and first round draft pick Peria Jerry.

Nielsen and Doeren have known each other since their days at USC, where Nielsen was an All-Pac 10 Conference defensive lineman as a sophomore and Doeren was on the coaching staff. Nielsen was a defensive tackle for the Trojans from 1997-2002, and recorded a career best 39 tackles in 1999. He signed as an undrafted free agent with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles and played one season of Arena Football with the Los Angeles Avengers.

About Nielsen

COACHING EXPERIENCE

2011- Northern Illinois (Defensive Line)
2010 Tennessee-Martin (Defensive Line/Special Teams)
2008-09 Central Connecticut State (Defensive Coordinator/DL/LBs)
2005-07 Mississippi (Defensive Line)
2004 Idaho (Administrative Assistant)
2002 Southern California (Volunteer)
POSTSEASON EXPERIENCE

2003 Orange Bowl (USC, Volunteer)
2001 Las Vegas Bowl (USC, Player)
1998 Sun Bowl (USC, Player)
PLAYING EXPERIENCE

1997-2002 Southern California (Defensive Line)
EDUCATION

College: B.S., Southern California, 2002
PERSONAL

Birthdate: March 20, 1979
Birthplace: Los Angeles, Calif.
Hometown: Los Angeles, Calif.

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