Football standout and swimming star win Martie, Russell Awards, respectfully
The Quest to Reach the NFL
James Spady enters his fourth season in Reno coming off a strong 2012 that saw Nevada produce one of the top tight ends in the conference in Mackey Award semifinalist Zach Sudfeld. Spady will also continue to assist with the offensive line.
Spady and the Pack return a pair of experienced tight ends in seniors Kolby Arendse and Stephen Jeffers in 2013 to go along with junior Randy Horton and a host of young, promising talent, including redshirt freshmen Cody Tuttle and Jarred Gipson.
As the case in his previous three years, Spady will also work with the offensive line as the Union returns a pair of starters this year in center Matt Galas and tackle Joel Bitonio.
Spady is no stranger to developing talent at Nevada. In his first year, he guided All-WAC tight end Virgil Green, who was picked in the 2011 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. Green, a multi-year starter proved himself to be one of the best tight ends in program history during his career in Reno. Green, who played in more than 50 games in his career at Nevada, caught 72 passes in his career for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns while also serving as a devastating blocker in the run game.
In 2012, Spady guided one of the best comeback stories in college football as Zach Sudfeld came back for a sixth season in his injury-riddled career at Nevada to start every game and become a semifinalist for the John Mackey Award. Sudfeld earned All-Mountain West second-team honors as he caught 45 passes for 598 yards and set a school record for most touchdowns by a tight end with eight.
A four-year starter at UTEP, Spady twice earned first-team All-WAC honors at center. After a three-year career in the Arena Football league, Spady returned to UTEP to begin his coaching career.
He came to Reno after three successful seasons as the offensive coordinator at Grambling State. During his time with the Tigers, the team grew offensively and reached the SWAC championship game in his first year. Grambling State led the SWAC in a number of offensive categories and a handful of Tigers players set school records and earned all-conference accolades.
Spady went to Grambling State after one season (2006) at North Carolina Central, where he helped the Eagles to a perfect 11-0 season and a trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs. NCCU finished the season ranked fourth in the nation in the D-II Top 25 poll. NCCU led its conference in 12 offensive statistical categories and Spady's offensive line yielded just 10 sacks in 289 pass attempts.
Prior to his stint at North Carolina Central, Spady spent two seasons as the offensive line coach at South Carolina State from 2004 to 2005. Under Spady's tutelage, the offense line at SCSU was directly responsible for clearing the way for 9,049 yards of total offense and 34.7 points per game during the 2004 and 2005 seasons combined.
Spady began his coaching career at the University of Texas at El Paso where he spent 11 seasons helping to develop both the offensive and defensive lines, as well as the tight ends. Spady coached the tight ends at UTEP from 1996-1999 when he aided in the development of Brian Natkin, a unanimous consensus All-American in 2000.
From 1993-1995, Spady was a student/graduate assistant coach working with both the offensive and defensive lines. Spady was the defensive line coach at UTEP from 2000-2003, he returned to the offensive side of the ball during the 2003 season when he took over the tight ends again for the second time at UTEP.
In addition to his collegiate coaching duties, Spady is also an avid student of the game as he has served two NFL Minority Internships with the Green Bay Packers in 1997 and again in 1999 with the Philadelphia Eagles. During June of 2007, Spady had the opportunity to acquire more knowledge as he was one of 28 coaches selected to participate in the 2008 NCAA Expert Coaches Academy in Dallas, Texas.