Ryan is one of the best technicians on the defensive line that I've ever been around," said Doeren. "He played the game at a very high level and learned to coach from a number of great defensive minds. He has great energy and passion for his players and is a tireless and energetic recruiter."
Prior to spending the last two seasons with the two-time MAC Champion and Orange Bowl-bound Huskies, Nielsen spent a year as the special teams coordinator and defensive line coach at Tennessee Martin, where the team led the Ohio Valley Conference in total defense. Prior to that, he was the defensive coordinator for two years at Central Connecticut State, also coaching defensive line and linebackers for the 2008 and 2009 campaigns. In 2009, CCSU won the Northeastern Conference title and led the league in sacks, forced turnovers, red zone defense and opponent third down conversions.
From 2005 - 2007, the Los Angeles native served for three years as the defensive line coach at Ole Miss. He coached two freshman All-Americans, Greg Hardy and Marcus Tillman, during his time in Oxford. He had a player lead the SEC in sacks twice during his three-year stint.
"I am very thankful to be joining the Wolfpack football family," said Nielsen. "I am looking forward to building on the football tradition here at NC State and want to thank Dr. [Debbie] Yow and Coach Doeren for the opportunity of a lifetime to join this staff. Having worked with Coach Doeren in the past, I'm honored and humbled to join him here at State. I can't wait to begin working."
The 33-year-old received his B.S. in public policy from Southern Cal in 2002. He was an all-conference performer as a sophomore, tallying 39 tackles, and played while Doeren was a graduate assistant coach for the Trojans. He signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Eagles and played Arena football with the Los Angeles Avengers.
After graduation, he served as a volunteer assistant on the Trojan staff for a season, then went to the University of Idaho, where he gained experience as an administrative assistant.