STILLWATER Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy dug deep to find his new defensive coordinator and plucked Bryan Nardo from the NCAA Division II level.
Nardo hails from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. He previously worked at Youngstown State and Emporia State, where he served as defensive coordinator for eight years.
Gundy also gave new titles to a few longtime defensive assistants, the university announced on Tuesday. Linebackers coach Joe Bob Clements was elevated to co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Tim Duffie added the title of defensive passing game coordinator.
Nardo replaces Derek Mason, who spent a season at OSU but announced earlier this month that he would be taking a sabbatical from college coaching.
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In the transition from former defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to Mason a year ago, Gundy asked Mason to adapt to the schedule and language Knowles had used for the past four years. However, it seems more likely that Nardo will be allowed to have more influence on the defensive style.
Nardo runs the 3-3-5 scheme popularized by Jon Heacock, Iowa State’s defensive coordinator, a scheme that Gundy has long sought and often praises.
Knowles arrived in 2018 with a 4-2-5 schedule that, with the help of the OSU staff, turned into a multi-front defense with more 3-3-5 influence.
With Gannon last season, Nardo’s defense allowed an average of 287.4 yards per game, up from 393.3 in the season before he arrived.
I am excited about the addition of Bryan Nardo as our defensive coordinator, Gundy said in a statement. He is a young, energetic, smart football coach who brings 10 years of coordinating experience. He’s been successful and his innovative system has helped him win races everywhere he’s been.
In addition, I promoted Joe Bob Clements to Co-Defensive Coordinator and Tim Duffie to Defensive Passing Game Coordinator. They have had a long-standing association with the state of Oklahoma and have been a big part of our program’s success.
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Originally from Shadyside, Ohio, Nardo began his coaching career as a student assistant at Ohio University.
His first coordinating job came with Emporia (Kansas) State, a Division II program coached by Oklahoma native Garin Higgins. Nardo spent eight seasons there from 2012 to 2019, almost exclusively as a defensive coordinator, while also recruiting Oklahoma State.
I can’t thank Coach Gundy and the rest of the staff enough for their openness throughout this process and for trusting me with this responsibility, Nardo said in a statement. I am extremely excited to join the rich tradition of Oklahoma State football. I can’t wait to get to work and build on all the great things that have been done here throughout history. I spent eight years recruiting the state of Oklahoma and have seen firsthand how much pride people have in this university’s athletic programs. There is no better place to represent.
I am also grateful to Coach Erik Raeburn and Lisa Goddard McGuirk for the opportunities they gave me at Gannon. Their trust and belief is something I don’t feel I’ll ever really be able to repay. Gannon is a special place and I loved working there every day.
More:National Signing Day Tracker: Oklahoma State Football Signers, 2023 Recruitment Rankings
The Bryan Nardo File
- Age: 37
- residence: Shadyside, Ohio
- Family: Wife, Emma; sons, Dominick Paul and Elijah Ray
- Coaching stops: Ohio University, student assistant (2004-2007); University of Ohio, graduate assistant (2008-2010); Missouri S&T, linebackers/special teams coordinator (2011); Emporia State, Defense Coordinator (2012-2019); Youngstown State linebackers (2020-21); Gannon University, Defensive Coordinator (2022)
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