Tyrone Nix Leaves For Ole Miss; Justin Hamilton Promoted To Safeties Coach

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Justin Hamilton Virginia Tech
Justin Hamilton will take over as Virginia Tech’s safeties coach. (Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech)

Virginia Tech safeties coach Tyrone Nix has left Blacksburg to join the Ole Miss coaching staff, and former Tech player Justin Hamilton has been promoted to replace him.  Nix spent just one season in Blacksburg after being hired last June to replace Galen Scott, who left the program for personal reasons after spring practice a year ago. 

Hamilton briefly served as Virginia Tech’s interim safeties coach after Scott left and before Nix was hired.  He has been the Hokies’ Director of Player Personnel on the defensive side of the ball.

“Justin has more than proven his mettle to our staff over the past year and has earned this opportunity to take the next step in his football career,” Fuente said. “We know how invested Justin is in the continued success of our program. He’s a bright and talented coach who has built a solid rapport with our players and football staff. Coach Foster and I are both excited to expand his responsibilities with our team.”

Hamilton played running back, wide receiver and free safety for Virginia Tech from 2002 through 2005, and then went on to play in 12 NFL games for the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins. 

This will not be Hamilton’s first stint as a position coach at the college level.  He was on the VMI staff from 2014 through 2017, where he coached inside linebackers and outside linebackers at various points.  He also served as co-special teams coordinator for three seasons at VMI.  Before his four years in Lexington, Hamilton was a member of the staff at UVA-Wise, where he was defensive coordinator from 2011 through 2013.

Hamilton has already spent time on the road recruiting for the Hokies, with Bud Foster on the mend from knee surgery in the month of January.  Right now it’s unknown which region Hamilton will be in charge of recruiting, but that won’t matter nearly as much as Hamilton’s ability to recruit safeties to Tech’s program. 

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22 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I’m happy for JH & proud to have him as a coach at VT. We’re lucky to have him. I can’t imagine any parent who wouldn’t want to see their son have JH as a mentor & coach. Totally please here.
    Go Hokies!

  2. I find this news very disappointing and although I like JF, I think he needs to be held more accountable for coaching decisions he has made in the defensive side of the ball. We had a really good coaching staff in that side of the ball, but I believe only BF and CW are left. Since his arrival, he has hired defensive coaches with less character, ie Galen Scott and uncommitted to our success, ie Tyrone Nix. I’d love to see an article in the following:
    1. Comparison of coaching salaries between our offensive and defensive staff and how that gap compares to other P5 schools
    2. Ave recruiting rankings of offensive vs defensive players since JF arrived
    3. A look at Memphis’s defensive recruiting and performance during JFs tenure there
    I fear we hired a head coach that does not respect nor embrace the defensive side of the ball. Our offensive performance has improved but the slide in defensive is what is killing us which comes down to recruiting and coaching.

    1. There’s a lot to unpack here.

      Nix comes from the SEC as a player and, without looking it up, I assume some coaching in the SEC too. He was only ever a stopgap from post-spring practice 2018. This has all been written about extensively when TSL analyzes the issues with the defense this past season.

      The Galen Scott fiasco wasn’t an issue his first two years at VT so I’m not sure there was much smoke before there was fire. I’m not an insider so take that with a grain of salt.

      On the surface the Hamilton hire is an unknown commodity as a coach and recruiter and another hire from within that Jim Weaver was so infamous for. Most everyone wants Torrian Gray back but he’s coaching in the pros and that’s not gonna happen soon. One of the things that made TG so good at VT was his experience working with and in Bud’s system. Hamilton fits that bill as well – NFL pedigree, former VT player which the fans love so much, experience with the coaching staff, – check, check, check.

      I wish JH had the external experience that TG had before coming home to VT in the 2000’s but that’s hard to come by.

      If you want to know the commitment of JF to the defensive side of the ball there’s two sides to that coin. His higher rated recruits have mostly been on offense but his commitment to give Bud an extra coach that he did not have normally. In the past it was Bud on LBs, Wiles on DL, Gray for the secondary and someone like Cornell Brown that really only coached one position and evidence shows wasn’t a great hire. Now it’s Bud, Wiles, plus separate coaches for Safeties and Corners in Scott/Nix/Hamilton and Mitchell. Those two secondary coaches better be on the same page which was easy when it was just TG. You can’t say that’s happened this past year with essentially three safety coaches within a year.

      Hopefully the ship is righted with this hire but I expect there will be growing pains for JH and the safeties.

      1. Another thing to consider is that Galen Scott was a defensive coordinator in his previous stops. Bud appreciated being able to gameplan with him and I have no idea but it’s easy to hypothesize that on game day Scott would help make adjustments for the entire secondary in-game. Perhaps that’s one more reason why Bud was up in the booth at the end of the season, trying to coach up Nix as a coach so he could see what Bud needs.

    2. And if you find that the defensive salaries outpaced offensive salaries? You sound like you have formed opinions without the benefit of facts.

      1. Not an opinion note a hypothesis that would be an interesting check into facts as you say. I believe TG left due to lower salary. And Nix got a significant raise at Ole Miss. is there athletic budget that much bigger than ours? I don’t know. I am on board with the JH hire base upon commitment, but we will have to see how he recruits.

      2. Not an opinion but a hypothesis that would be an interesting check into facts as you say. I believe TG left due to lower salary. And Nix got a significant raise at Ole Miss. Is their athletic budget that much bigger than ours? I don’t know. I am on board with the JH hire based upon his passion and commitment, but we will have to see how he recruits.

  3. Loved him as a player, love him more as a coach. Chatted with him before and after the NOVA recruiting event and he is the ultimate Hokie. Bleeds O&M and proud of it. Bright young man and brighter future.

  4. Great deal for Justin, and VT! Why the short stay by Nix, though? Does he have ties to Ol Miss or their HC?

  5. Congrats to Justin Hamilton. You probably can’t find a more dedicated Hokie. Did whatever needed for the team when he played. I hope he’s successful in instilling that same attitude to the players.

  6. Good move! Loyal to VT, Bud Foster and the town of Blacksburg. I expect to see much improved plan from our safeties. GO HOKIES!!!

  7. Sounds like a win-win situation for both Nix’s return to Mississippi & Hamilton for his return to VT in a P5 Coaching gig. Congrats to both!!!

    Let’s Go…Hokies!!!
    BEAT BC in the fall but tonight let’s whoop some Wahoo butt!!!

  8. It is always great to see a qualified alum of the program earn a promotion in his field. I wish him much success.

  9. I am very happy with this hire. It is good for VT, and allows the past to connect to the future in a good way.

  10. I am very pleased to see this for Justin. He is my all-time favorite selfless Hokie. Not only did he do anything that the team asked – I remember him in the USC game playing RB when we had injuries and suspensions. He was also one of the first to donate after the shooting, $50K if I do recall.

    1. A very significant donation for a 7th round draft pick with a short NFL career.

      Very happy we can welcome him back, AND I think he’s well qualified.

  11. I officiated many games during Justin’s Clintwood Green Wave career and was always impressed with his demeanor and charisma before, during, and after games. His character personified his athleticism. I gather that he has remained steady to his Southwest Virginia upbringing. His hard work and loyalty has been rewarded and I wish him much success and a long tenure at his alma mater.

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