GOLDEN — Following an award-winning playing career as a linebacker for the University of Houston, as well as the inception of his coaching career, Matt Nicholson has joined the Colorado School of Mines football coaching staff as an inside linebacker coach.
Nicholson, who will also handle the strength and conditioning aspects of the football program in addition to other sport programs, comes to Golden after a nine-month stint as a weightroom assistant and three-year tenure as a graduate assistant on the Cougars coaching staff.
As a linebackers’ coach in 2011, Nicholson helped the club to incredible defensive success, ranking among national leaders in sacks, tackles-for-loss and interceptions.
He was a defensive backs assistant in 2012 and worked again with the linebackers in 2013.
During his tenure at Houston, Nicholson helped three Houston defenders to the NFL, including D.J. Hayden (Oakland Raiders, first round, 2013), Sammy Brown (St. Louis Rams, undrafted free agent, 2012) and Phillip Steward (St. Louis Rams, undrafted free agent, 2013).
The 2011 version of the Cougars posted a 13-1 record and won the Ticket City Bowl.
Starting his career as a walk-on and progressing to a scholarship player, Nicholson starred for Houston from 2006-2010, racking up 179 total tackles, 14 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions, including one interception return for a touchdown, despite missing 20 games his final three seasons due to knee injuries.
He played in 47 career games for the Cougars and served as a team captain during the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was named the Tom Wilson Offseason MVP in both 2009 and 2010 and was Houston’s Special Teams Player of the Year as a true freshman in 2006.
He was also a Burlsworth Trophy nominee, which is an award given to the top player in the nation that started his career as a walk-on.
Nicholson received his bachelor’s degree in sport administration from Houston in December of 2010. He graduated with a master’s degree in human resource development in the spring of 2013.
A native of Plano, Texas, and a product of Plano Senior High School, Nicholson helped carry the Wildcats to a 13-1 record and an appearance in the regional finals as a senior. Nicholson was an Honorable Mention 5A All-State selection as a senior as well as being named first team All-State in lacrosse.