One of the country's top young offensive minds and well-respected throughout the coaching profession for his play-calling and offensive creativity, Mike Nesbitt enters his first season as the offensive coordinator for the University of Houston's "Air Raid" offense.
Nesbitt comes to UH from Stephen F. Austin where he mentored one of college football's most explosive offenses. A former Division I student-athlete (New Mexico) and NFL punter for the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings, Nesbitt has spent the majority of his collegiate coaching career crafting offensive game plans, including his one-year stint at S.F.A. Nesbitt's first year in Nacogdoches, Texas, was no easy chore. He was forced to replace quarterback Jeremy Moses, the 2010 Walter Payton Award winner and two-time All-America quarterback, with a first-year starter, while also implementing his own brand of offensive football. Nesbitt's transition to S.F.A. was a success, as sophomore quarterback Brady Attaway ranked No. 10 nationally in total offense, racking up 286.9 yards per game, while throwing for 3,181 yards and 27 touchdowns. Overall Stephen F. Austin's offense enjoyed Top 15 national rankings in passing offense (No. 6 - 318.8), scoring offense (No. 11 - 35.7) and total offense (No. 11 - 439.4), earning Nesbitt recognition amongst his peers and making him a natural choice to direct the UH offense in 2012.
In fact, despite replacing the top player in Football Bowl Subdivision play in 2011, Stephen F. Austin nearly equaled its offensive and scoring output, racking up 439.4 total yards (compared to 442.9 in 2010) and scoring 35.7 points (36.3 in 2010). Attaway led the Southland Conference in passing (289.2), while juniors Gralyn Crawford (6.5) and Cordell Roberson (5.7) led the league in receptions per game.
"Mike has an incredible grasp of the Air Raid offense and our fans are really going to enjoy the offensive creativity he brings to our program," Levine said. "His track record gives us the most experienced offensive coordinator we've had since I have been at UH. Coaches throughout our state have an incredible amount of respect for the way he coaches and teaches the game. We went through an exhaustive search process and talked to a number of great college coaches, but Mike is exactly what I was looking for and he really wants to be at the University of Houston."
Prior to his one season at S.F.A. Nesbitt spent four years at West Texas A&M coordinating the offense in 2010 while also working with the Buffalo receivers and quarterbacks. Nesbitt's offense averaged 529 yards per game in 2010, including 423 yards through the air. The Buffaloes ranked No. 2 nationally in total offense and No. 3 in scoring offense (42.0). West Texas A&M quarterback Taylor Harris also finished third nationally with 400 yards passing per contest, and was among the nation's leaders with 38 touchdown passes.
"Camille, Gavin and I are honored to be joining the Houston family," Nesbitt said. "What has taken place at Houston over the past decade is remarkable. The facility improvements, the success on the field and in the classroom and of course the national move to the BIG EAST makes this an exciting time to be a Houston Cougar. Offensively, our fans will be very familiar with our style of play. We have the best athletes in America in our own backyard at UH and few teams play like us, so I'm excited about how this program will evolve as we move into a new era."
Nesbitt coached the West Texas A&M receivers in 2009. The Buffaloes hauled in 355 passes for 4,251 yards, the third-highest total in school history. Nesbitt also mentored current Seattle Seahawks receiver Charly Martin that year. Martin concluded his collegiate career with 95 receptions for 1,867 yards and 22 touchdowns to earn All-America honors.
Nesbitt has 16 years of coaching experience, including 12 years at the collegiate level. He spent two seasons in Brenham, Texas, as the offensive coordinator at Blinn College and helped coach the Buccaneers to a 19-3 (.864) overall record and the 2006 NJCAA National Championship. In addition to the team's success, Nesbitt's offense produced several All-Americans. Prior to his two seasons at Blinn, Nesbitt helped Howard Payne produce a 30-10 (.750) overall record in four seasons.
Nesbitt enjoyed a standout playing career at the University of New Mexico, where he was one of the nation's top punters. He finished second all-time in UNM school history averaging 45 yards per punt as a junior and led the nation in net punting that season. He also spent time in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings.
A native of Belen, N.M., Nesbitt received his bachelor's degree from UNM in 1996. He graduated with a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies from West Texas A&M in 2008. Nesbitt, and his wife Camille, have a son, Gavin.