COLLEGE STATION, Texas—Texas A&M Head Football Coach Mike Sherman announced he has offered three assistant football coaching positions to Steve Kragthorpe (wide receivers), Dat Nguyen (inside linebackers) and Nick Toth (outside linebackers) and all three have accepted. The contracts are all pending approval of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents.
“I have completed my coaching staff and I am very excited about this group of men,” Sherman said. “Not only are they excellent coaches and recruiters, but they are teachers of the game. I believe we have an excellent mix of solid veteran coaches with some outstanding young coaches.”
Steve Kragthorpe returns to Aggieland to coach wide receivers. Kragthorpe worked on the Texas A&M football staff four years from 1997-2000 serving three years as the offensive coordinator (1998-2000) and he also worked with the wide receivers in 1997-98 before coaching the quarterbacks in 1999-2000. Most recently Kragthorpe was the head football coach at the University of Louisville from 2007-09.
"Steve brings a wealth of experience to our football team,” Sherman said. “He has had a career which led him through the college ranks, to the NFL and back to college as a head coach. He will be a valuable asset to our coaching staff and both he and his family are excited to reconnect with the Aggie family.”
“Many Aggies are familiar with the fact Steve was last at Texas A&M when the Aggies last won the Big 12 Championship (1998),” Sherman explained. “In my research of different coaches once learning of Nolan Cromwell’s imminent departure, I could find few potential candidates who offered what Steve did—strong affection and appreciation for his time at Texas A&M, as well as a high degree of knowledge and experience in coaching offensive football in the current climate of college football.”
Kragthorpe left Texas A&M in 2000 to accept a position as the quarterback coach of the Buffalo Bills working with quarterbacks Rob Johnson and All-Pro Drew Bledsoe. He left the Bills’ organization to accept the head coaching position at the University of Tulsa in December of 2002.
“I am very excited about joining Mike Sherman and the football staff at Texas A&M,” Kragthorpe said. “I have the utmost respect for Mike Sherman, both as a football coach, and as a person. My family and I could not be more excited about coming back to Aggieland. We know the passion of Aggie fans and I look forward to working with our current staff and players in reaching the championship level again.”
A name familiar to Aggie fans is Dat Nguyen, the former Texas A&M All-American linebacker and the 1998 Lombardi and Bednarik Award winner, has been named the inside linebackers coach.
“I am very excited to announce Dat Nguyen has joined our staff to coach inside linebackers,” Sherman said. “The fact that Dat was a great player for the Texas Aggies and the Dallas Cowboys had considerably less to do with his hiring. It was the fact that he thoroughly impressed me in two separate interviews, one in Dallas on Wednesday of last week, and one in College Station on Thursday. His intelligence, knowledge and passion for the game are what impressed me most. It was also evident to me while listening to him during the interview that he has played and coached with some of the finest defensive head coaches in the game of football- namely R.C. Slocum, Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips. He evidently has paid attention through the years.”
“On a side note,” Sherman explained. “I must admit his story on how he got to A&M as a not so highly recruited athlete is one worth repeating. For him to rise his senior year toward being one of the country’s best linebackers is a credit to his discipline, focus and determination. To ultimately get drafted by the Dallas Cowboys is just another example of how this Texas high school football player realized his goals through hard work and commitment. He made the most out of his opportunity and should prove to be a valuable lesson to both recruits and players. Again, I am extremely excited to have Dat on the staff. When I offered him the job early Friday morning, he was anxious to get started with coaching the linebackers.”
Nguyen has served the past three seasons as an assistant linebackers and defensive quality control coach for the Dallas Cowboys’ organization.
"I could not be happier about returning to Aggieland to work on Coach Mike Sherman’s staff,” Nguyen said. “I am ecstatic about having this opportunity to work with Coach DeRuyter and I am very familiar with the 3-4 scheme. I look forward to working with all of the coaches and staff as well as the outstanding Aggie football players. I have a great passion for teaching and a great passion to help our team win championships.”
After earning his degree from Texas A&M in 1998, Nguyen was drafted by the Cowboys in the third round of the 1999 NFL draft and made an immediate impact leading the club in special teams tackles as a rookie and becoming the starting middle linebacker in his second year. As he was at Texas A&M, Nguyen was one of the most popular players in the Cowboys’ organization and he played seven years in Dallas before injuries forced him to retire in 2005.
During his time at Aggieland, Nguyen was a consensus All-America linebacker, the Southwest Conference Defensive Player of the Year and still holds the school career record for tackles (517). He started every game of his Aggie career (51 straight) and is the only Aggie defender to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive years.
The outside linebackers coach is Nick Toth who comes to Texas A&M from The Citadel. Toth was the Bulldogs defensive backs and special teams coach in 2009.
“I am very pleased to announce Nick Toth has agreed to accept the position of outside linebackers coach on our staff,” Sherman said. “Not only did he do an outstanding job on the interview, but he has a history with Coach DeRuyter in the 3-4 scheme, both as a player and as a coach. His understanding of all the nuances of the outside linebacker position, and how it is to be taught put him over the top and this should facilitate the players in the learning process.”
“Nick is a very intelligent, high-energy coach who has benefitted from growing up in a football family as the son of a coach,” Sherman explained. “He was most recently a part of Coach Kevin Higgins staff at The Citadel and played a part in the resurgence of the Bulldog football program in the Southern Conference. Nick has worked his way up through the system and is recognized by many in football circles as a future star in this business. He will do a great job for us."
Toth served as the defensive coordinator at Ashland University in Ohio in 2007 and 2008. He worked with the linebackers as well as with the defensive backfield. Ashland finished 2007 ranked 22nd nationally by the AFCA Coaches Poll and played in the post season for the third time in school history and for the first time in the previous 10 years.
“I am very excited about joining Coach Sherman and the Texas A&M football staff and players,” Toth said. “I played for, as well as worked with, Tim DeRuyter at Ohio University and though we have gone in different directions on the coaching front, we have stayed in contact and have the same beliefs in the attacking and aggressive style of the 3-4 schemes. My family and I are looking forward to being a part of a tradition-rich program like the Aggie family.”
Toth coached at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania, and Elon University in North Carolina after a stint at Ohio University, his alma mater.
After playing running back and defensive back at Ohio from 1994-99, Toth worked one year on the high school level before returning to campus to serve as a graduate assistant. He spent the 2002 season as the recruiting coordinator and defensive backs coach at Dakota State University in Madison, South Dakota.
“I have revamped our coaching staff and the Aggie football coaching staff is complete and I look forward to working with all of these outstanding coaches and teachers,” Sherman stated.