A former McNeese State quarterback and offensive coordinator at Northwestern State, Slade Nagle now calls the shots for a team he often played against.
Nagle has his hands full this year with two quarterbacks — freshman Tyler Arndt and sophomore Tim Hawkins — who have almost no experience at the collegiate level. However, after throwing more than 4,500 yards in three seasons at McNeese State, Nagle should have seasoned tips for the fledgling quarterbacks.
Coach Brad Wright said Nagle’s knowledge of the Southland Conference was a major factor in the decision to hire him.
“We played against him,” Wright said. “We knew he would bring some kind of mentality to the quarterback position. He played in the conference, coached in the conference (and) knows the conference — no doubt.”
Nagle began his career as a graduate assistant at Northwestern in 2002 and took a break to be a quarterback coach at Dodge City Community College for two years. Nagle went back to Northwestern in 2006 as a receivers coach and in 2008, was promoted to offensive coordinator.
The entire coaching staff was let go after a successful 2008 campaign, despite the team averaging 26.7 points a game that season. Nagle was a special teams assistant at Louisiana State last year.
“Our whole staff got let go of or replaced,” Nagle said. “I had a couple job offers, and I just decided to go (to LSU) for a year.”
Wright knew he did not want to change the offensive plan resulting in past success for the Bobcats. However, he still had to fill the void Travis Bush, former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, left for Texas-San Antonio.
“We were going to continue to do what we do,” Wright said. “We weren’t going to change offenses. (Nagle) came in, and the first day, he knew exactly what we needed to get done.”
Nagle said his decision to come to Texas State, like Wright’s reason to hire him, was largely because of familiarity with the conference.
“It only made me more familiar with this place,” Nagle said. “Coaching against Texas State, seeing the quality of ball clubs they put on the field and things going on with the stadium, I thought that was a positive to the whole situation.”
Nagle first attended Clemson upon high school graduation. After a coaching and offensive scheme change, Nagle transferred to McNeese State. Nagle led his team to back-to-back playoffs at McNeese State, reaching the conference championship in 2001 during his senior year. He set the school record for passing completion with 57.8 percent.
“We had some good teams,” Nagle said. “I would say there are a lot better players around me than I was a good player.”