A veteran coach with more than 30 seasons of experience, Larry Lewis is in his first season at Nevada and will serve as the Wolf Pack's special teams coordinator while also coaching running backs. Lewis brings a distinguished coaching career of more than three decades, including eight seasons as the head coach Idaho State, to Reno.
With a coaching career spent entirely in the West, Lewis has connections to a handful of members of Nevada's coaching staff. Lewis, a native of Vale, Ore., played collegiately at Boise State alongside Nevada defensive coordinator Mike Bradeson. Wolf Pack cornerbacks coach James Ward served as the defensive coordinator for Lewis at Idaho State. Lewis also has ties to Wolf Pack linebackers coach Ken Wilson and defensive line coach Barry Sacks.
At Nevada, he'll oversee a running back unit that has produced at least one 1,000-yard rusher in all but one season since 2006. Junior Stefphon Jefferson is Nevada's most experienced running back, along with senior Nick Hale and those two will be pushed by a talented group of underclassmen, including redshirt freshman Anthony Knight.
He'll also coordinate all aspects of the special teams units for Nevada, which returns three kickers with experience and a handful of capable return men.
Lewis comes to Nevada after four seasons at Mountain West foe Colorado State. After coaching the Rams' special teams and safeties for three seasons, he was promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2011 campaign, and given the responsibility of coaching running backs and fullbacks, in addition to special teams.
At Colorado State last season, Lewis guided the Rams to top 25 rankings in punting and kick returns. As the Rams running back coach, he tutored Chris Nwoke, who was third in the Mountain West in rushing at nearly 95 yards per game. Lewis also had the No. 19 kick return unit in 2000 and the top punter in the Mountain West in 2008.
Lewis has produced a number of NFL players in his career, perhaps most notably All-Pro defensive end Jared Allen, who was the nation's top defensive player in I-AA (FCS) in 2003 at Idaho State. As the Bengals head coach from 1999-2006, Lewis guided the Idaho State to a share of the 2002 Big Sky Conference title and the school's first pair of consecutive eight-win seasons, in 2002 and '03, in the program's 101-year history. For a stretch from 2001-04, Idaho State was ranked in 22 of 23 national polls. His Bengals teams produced 13 All-Americans, 127 all-conference selections and 41 academic all-conference awards.
Lewis was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year in 2002, when Idaho State notched its best record in 21 years and captured a share of its first Big Sky title in more than two decades. That season, the Bengals had 22 all-conference players; they had just one only three years earlier, in 1999. The Bengals closed the year No. 16 in the national polls.
Prior to his tenure at ISU, Lewis spent 10 years at Washington State, where he served as defensive ends coach (1989-94) and assistant head coach/special teams coordinator (1995-98). During that period, WSU experienced unprecedented success and his linemen helped the school post the nation's No. 2 defense against the run in both 1993 and 1994. The Cougars went to three bowl games, including the Rose Bowl at the end of a 10-1 season in 1997. In that contest, WSU nearly upset eventual national champion Michigan.
From 1981-88, Lewis coached at Weber State, where he began as a part-time assistant. Promoted to full-time status by head coach Mike Price prior to the 1983 season, Lewis coached outside linebackers from 1981-85, then wore two caps as recruiting coordinator and defensive line coach from 1986-88. In 1987, the Wildcats enjoyed what remains the best season in program annals, a 10-3 campaign that saw them advance to the national Division I-AA quarterfinals and capture a share of the Big Sky Conference championship. In `81, his first year at the school, the 7-4 team snapped a string of 10 losing seasons.
Lewis began coaching after a stellar playing career at Boise State, where he lettered four times. After redshirting in 1976, he was the team's most improved player as a freshman. As a starter at outside linebacker, he helped the Broncos win the 1980 NCAA Division I-AA national championship, on the heels of a 10-1 season in 1979 and a Big Sky championship in 1977.
The File on Larry Lewis
Born: Oct. 30, 1957
Hometown: Vale, Ore.
Family: Wife - Lisa, Daughter - Hanna
Bachelor's, Physical Education, Boise State, 1980
2012- : Special Teams/Running Backs, Nevada
2011: Associate Head Coach/Special Teams/Running Backs, Colorado State
2008-10: Special Teams/Safeties, Colorado State
1999-2006: Head Coach, Idaho State
1995-98: Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams, Washington State
1989-94: Defensive Ends, Washington State
1986-88: Recruiting Coordinator/Defensive Line, Weber State
1981-85: Outside Linebackers, Weber State
Boise State: Linebacker for 1977 Big Sky Championship Team and 1980 I-AA National Champions (1977-80)
Recruiting Areas: Southern California (Orange County) and the Pacific Northwest.