BOONE, N.C. — App State head football coach Shawn Clark has hired longtime NFL coach Robert Nunn to the Mountaineers’ staff as an assistant coach with the defense.
During his first 31 years coaching football, Nunn spent 19 seasons in the NFL and was a successful junior college head coach for nearly a decade before that.
“We’re excited to welcome Robert and his family to Boone,” Clark said. “As a Super Bowl-winning assistant coach in the NFL and a head coach in junior college, he is going to bring a wealth of knowledge to our staff and players.”
Most recently the defensive line coach for the New York Jets from 2017-18, Nunn was defensive line coach for the New York Giants when they caught fire in the playoffs and beat the New England Patriots to win Super Bowl XLVI. He also worked with the Cleveland Browns (2016), Giants (2010-15), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009), Green Bay Packers (2005-08), Miami Dolphins (2001-02, 04) and Washington Redskins (2003). In addition to the Giants, he also helped the Dolphins to multiple playoff appearances and the Packers to a pair of playoff games.
“Ever since I started following App State Football in the summer of 1997, I’ve been up to visit 15 or 20 times and I just love Boone,” Nunn said. “From watching Coach (Jerry) Moore, I was always impressed by how well the Mountaineers were coached. It’s a great program that I’ve been attached to for a while, and I’m excited to join the staff and get started.”
Clark has now completed his staff of 10 on-field assistant coaches, which also includes offensive coordinator Tony Petersen; offensive assistants Nic Cardwell, Brian Haines, Pat Washington and Justin Watts; defensive coordinator Dale Jones; and defensive assistants Cortney Braswell, Mark DeBastiani and James Rowe. Position assignments will be announced soon.
During Nunn’s NFL coaching career, he was part of six top-10 defenses for three different teams, and 19 different players of his produced at least five sacks in a season. Of those 19 players, 11 matched or established their single-season career bests while coached by him. Among the players coached by Nunn in the NFL are Hall of Famers Bruce Smith, who broke the NFL career sacks record under him in 2003, and Jason Taylor, who established a single-season best 18.5 sacks in 2002, as well as Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck, both of whom registered multiple seasons of 10+ sacks with him, while Osi Umenyiora logged 11.5 in 2010.
Before entering the NFL coaching ranks, Nunn spent nine seasons at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Ga., including the last eight (1992-99) as head coach while compiling a 66-19 record at the helm. Current App State defensive coordinator Dale Jones was Nunn’s defensive coordinator for four seasons there. At GMC, he mentored 13 NJCAA All-Americans and 15 players who went on to the NFL, including former App State standout Daniel Wilcox as well as Troy Albea, Robert Bean, Lorenzo Brommell, Terry Guess, Billy Gustin, Nic Clemons, Reggie Rhodes, Jimmy Robinson, Sulecio Sanford, Jermaine Smith, Keith Stokes, Allen Williams, Horace Willis and Peppi Zellner.
Nunn coached defensive ends under head coach Johnny Majors at Tennessee in 1989 and 1990, where he first worked on staff alongside Jones. The Vols went 20-3-2 with wins in the Cotton Bowl and Sugar Bowl during those two seasons. Nunn got his start in the coaching profession as defensive line coach at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in 1988.
Originally from Apache, Okla., Nunn spent four years as a linebacker at Oklahoma State from 1984-87, helping the Cowboys make three bowl games and win two of them. Playing for head coach Jimmy Johnson, he served as team captain during his senior year. He graduated from the school in 1988 with a degree in secondary education.
He and his wife, Karen, have six children: a daughter, Josie, and five sons, Noah, Jacob, Nathan, Johnny and Jason.