One of the most veteran defensive coordinators in the NFL, Nolan has 12 years of experience in that capacity with five different teams: Denver (2009), Baltimore (2002-04), the New York Jets (2000), Washington (1997-99) and the New York Giants (1993-96).
Nolan joins Miami after spending last season as the defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. Under his tutelage in 2009, Denvers team defense improved to seventh overall in the NFL after a 29th place finish in 2008. Denvers passing defense was equally impressive, finishing third overall in the NFL, allowing 186.3 yards per game. Prior to joining the Broncos staff, Nolan served as the San Francisco 49ers head coach from 2005-08, following in the footsteps of his father, Dick, who coached that club for eight seasons from 1968-75 and had an 11-year NFL head coaching career.
The 49ers were one of the NFLs most consistent teams in stopping the run during Nolans four years with the club, ranking fourth in the league in yards per carry allowed (3.9) during that period. Offensively, San Franciscos 4.3-yard rushing average over Nolans four years was the eighth-best mark in the NFL.
Prior to San Francisco, Nolan served three years as Baltimores defensive coordinator from 2002-04, Nolans group tied for the NFL lead in takeaways (106) while ranking fifth in the league in both points per game allowed (18.8) and third down percentage (34.7). Five Baltimore defenders earned a total of nine trips to the Pro Bowl, and Nolan instructed back-to-back AP NFL Defensive Players of the Year in Ray Lewis (2003) and Ed Reed (2004). After spending his first year (2001) in Baltimore as wide receivers coach, Nolan replaced Marvin Lewis as the clubs defensive coordinator in 2002. He coached one of the leagues youngest defenses in 2002, helping the Ravens post a franchise record and an AFC-high 25 interceptions while placing sixth in the league in opponent passer rating (73.4).
Nolan became the NFLs youngest defensive coordinator in 1993 when the Giants hired him for that position at age 35. He spent eight consecutive seasons as an NFL defensive coordinator with the Giants (1993-96), Redskins (1997-99) and Jets (2000). In his first year as a defensive coordinator with the Giants in 1993, Nolans defense allowed an NFL low 12.8 points per game for the best mark by the club in 44 seasons.
Nolans NFL coaching career began with the Broncos in 1987 as their special teams/linebackers coach, a position he held with the club through the 1992 campaign. He was a part of three teams that won the AFC West and helped the Broncos reach the Super Bowl during the 1987 (XXII) and 89 (XXIV) seasons.
Following a stint in the Broncos 1981 training camp as a defensive back, Nolan began his coaching career as a graduate assistant that year at his alma mater, the University of Oregon. He was a three year starter at safety for the Ducks after beginning his collegiate playing career as a walk-on. Nolan landed his first full-time coaching job at Stanford University as its linebackers/defensive backs coach in 1982 and worked there for two years before serving in the same capacity at Rice University from 1984-85.
He spent 1986 as the linebackers coach for Louisiana State University before moving into the NFL coaching ranks with the Broncos in 1987.
Nolan was born on March 7, 1959, in Baltimore. He and his wife, Kathy, have four children: Michael, Christopher, Laura and Jennifer.
Mike Nolans Coaching Career
1981 University of Oregon Graduate Assistant
1982-83 Stanford University Linebackers/Defensive Backs Coach
1984-85 Rice University Linebackers/Defensive Backs Coach
1986 Louisiana State University Linebackers Coach
1987-92 Denver Broncos Special Teams/Linebackers Coach
1993-96 New York Giants Defensive Coordinator
1997-99 Washington Redskins Defensive Coordinator
2000 New York Jets Defensive Coordinator
2001-04 Baltimore Ravens Wide Receivers Coach (2001)
Defensive Coordinator (2002-04)
2005-08 Head Coach San Francisco 49ers
2009 Denver Broncos Defensive Coordinator
2010 Miami Dolphins Defensive Coordinator
Press release courtesy of the Miami Dolphins PR staff