The Falcons hired Southern Mississippi assistant Derrick Nix to be the assistant running backs coach under Ollie Wilson. Wilson was one of three assistant coaches retained under new head coach Bobby Petrino from the previous staff under Jim Mora. Nix could be considered the protege and future successor to the 55-year old Wilson.
Nix will undoubtedly be the youngest member of Petrino’s staff, as he will turn 26 in February. Although new assistant secondary coach Joe Whitt, Jr. is 28. He has spent the past four seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Southern Miss.
Nix earned All-Conference honors his first two seasons at Southern Miss, rushing for over 1000 yards each year. An ankle injury limited his junior season (2000), but those injuries were further complicated by kidney problems. He would return to the field in 2002, and rush for a career high 1194 yards and 11 touchdowns. But further kidney problems cost him any shot at the NFL. He received a transplant of a kidney donated by his brother, Marcus, in June 2003. Shortly after he took over as a graduate assistant at Southern Miss, with his duties mostly involved with coaching the defensive backs. In 2004, he moved to tight ends coach. And in 2005, he moved to coach the team’s running backs. He finished his playing career at Southern Miss, ranking second on the team’s all-time rushing list with 3584 yards and third with 30 touchdowns.
Nix was a college teammate of current starting Falcons linebacker Michael Boley.