The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have named Stephen Nicholas their new defensive quality control coach. Nicholas replaces Dave Borgonzi, who held that position for the past four seasons before joining the Indianapolis Colts staff as the linebackers coach.
Nicholas won't have to move far to set up his new office, as he spent the last three seasons as the defensive quality control coach at the University of South Florida, his alma mater. A Jacksonville native, Nicholas was drafted by Atlanta in the fourth round in 2007 and played seven seasons for the Falcons.
The addition of Nicholas to the Buccaneers' staff marks another success story for two training programs for potential NFL professionals, the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship. Nicholas was one of 144 participants in the Walsh program last year, working with the Buccaneers during last year's organized team activity practices (OTAs).
Nicholas becomes the fourth participant in those two programs to be added the Buccaneers' football staff during Dirk Koetter's tenure as head coach. Skyler Fulton, who was recently promoted to wide receivers coach, came on as an offensive assistant last season after training in the Walsh program. Anthony Perkins, formerly an assistant coach at Ohio University, worked with the Buccaneers' staff during a 2016 mini-camp through the same opportunity, leading to his hire last year as the assistant to the head coach. Alex Smith, a former tight end who played four seasons for Tampa Bay, has transitioned into scouting – he joined the team as a pro scout in 2017 – thanks in part to the Nunn-Wooten program.
Nicholas began his coaching career at USF in 2015. Over the past three seasons he has assisted several members of the Bulls' staff, working with linebackers, defensive linemen and special-teamers. During his playing days with the Falcons, Nicholas appeared in 101 games with 50 starts as a linebacker, recording 378 tackles, eight sacks and five forced fumbles.