UNLV Coaching Staff 2023

The Rebels were slowly building themselves as a bowl contender but now the UNLV coaching staff pivots to a former SEC coach to spearhead the program in 2023.

While coaching changes aren’t new in the 45-year history of UNLV Rebels football (five since 2004), the Rebels’ most recent one was arguably the most shocking.

Gone is Marcus Arroyo — who not only led the Rebs to claim the Fremont Cannon over rival Nevada – but had his Rebel teams showing improvement each season. Arroyo’s teams went from a winless, truncated 2020 season to being one win away from clinching bowl eligibility in 2022. Included in his last campaign was a victory over the 2021 Mountain West Conference champion, Utah State, and a near upset of the 2022 MWC champ, Fresno State.

UNLV 2023 Coaching Staff

Arroyo came to UNLV as a fast-rising offensive coordinator with extensive Power Five history in the Pac-12 and Big 12. Now, UNLV is turning to a former head coach from the Southeastern Conference to spearhead the program moving forward: Barry Odom.

Odom, previously the head coach of Missouri, will get his first head coaching crack since 2019. But what does the rest of the Rebel staff look like? It’s a mix of fast-rising assistants and experienced coaches who also know the SEC. Here’s who comprises the UNLV 2023 staff:

Head Coach, Barry Odom

Again, Odom has a new team to lead for the first time since the 2019 season—his last with Mizzou.

His Missouri teams went 25-25 overall but were 0-2 in bowl games and went 13-19 in the SEC. His best season was an 8-5 mark in 2018. That was also the same year the Tigers trounced No. 11 Florida 38-17, which was the school’s largest road win over a ranked opponent since 2008.

While Arroyo was known as an offensive whiz, Odom is more of a defensive mind, which includes serving as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach for Arkansas from 2020 to 2022. His last Razorbacks defense led the SEC in sacks with 42. His unit additionally earned top-five rankings in the SEC for takeaways in 2020 and 2021 with 18 and 16, respectively.

He’ll look to put his own stamp on a defense that allowed 28.5 points per game but picked off 15 interceptions. Offensively, though, Odom managed to pluck away one of the fastest-rising coordinators in the nation.

Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks Coach, Brennan Marion

The man behind the “Go-Go” offense is aiming to light up the scoreboard like a slot machine.

Marion’s offenses, which use exotic two-running back looks mixed with wide receiver mismatches, have witnessed drastic improvements everywhere he’s gone. And that includes his most recent stop at Texas, where the Longhorns averaged 34.5 points per game with Marion as the passing game coordinator.

His offenses at William & Mary and Howard either doubled their previous scoring output or ranked in the top 25 nationally. Speaking of Howard, Marion was the offensive coordinator behind the memorable upset of UNLV in 2017, which saw the Bison enter as a 45-point underdog.

Marion has also established himself as a wide receiver guru. The former NFL wideout was behind Jordan Addison’s All-American season in 2021 while at Pittsburgh. He also turned Xavier Worthy into the leader in receiving touchdowns in the Big 12 in Austin.

This won’t be Marion’s first time in the MWC. He served as the WR coach for Hawaii in 2020 and coached future XFL wideout Calvin Turner. Now, Marion has the opportunity to elevate the 26.3 PPG UNLV’s offense delivered in 2022.

Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach, Mike Scherer

Scherer was with Odom at Arkansas and Missouri. Now, Odom lures him in to help run the defense and LB unit.

Scherer briefly filled Odom’s DC role for the 2022 Liberty Bowl versus Kansas. Now, the 29-year-old, who also played for Odom’s Tigers defenses at linebacker, gets his first defensive coordinator role.

Scherer most recently coached highly-touted NFL LB prospect Drew Sanders, who became a third-round selection for the Denver Broncos.

Scherer will have his first West regional coaching opportunity through Odom at UNLV, as he had his previous coaching stops at his alma mater and Arkansas.

Special Teams Coordinator, James Shibest

Shibest is an award-winning assistant coming to UNLV, having won the title of Special Teams Coach of the Year in 2017 by Football Scoop.

Shibest, 58, also gives Odom a former head coach on the same staff, as Shibest won two national titles at the NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association) level with Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas.

After his final season at the JUCO level in 1999, Shibest went back to his alma mater, Arkansas, from 2000 to 2007, working with the special teams unit as well as WRs and tight ends. His last three stops were Ole Miss, Memphis, and Virginia Tech, where he worked with Houston Nutt and Justin Fuente.

Like Scherer, UNLV will be Shibest’s first West regional coaching gig.

Offensive Line Coach, Vance Vice

Odom brought in an established veteran offensive line coach to run the offensive trenches. His most recent unit at Virginia Tech helped pave the way for a school record of 5.58 rushing yards per carry in 2020. That line additionally featured future 2021 first-rounder Christian Darrisaw at tackle. Vice is back in the MWC, having spent 2005-2008 with Utah State under former Aggies head coach Brent Guy.

Running Backs Coach, Cornell Ford

Ford reunites with Odom in the 702, as he was previously with him at Mizzou in the same position and as an assistant head coach. Ford, though, has an area of expertise on defense as well, as he served as the cornerbacks coach for Toledo in 2021 and 2022. One of his most recent players was fifth-round draft selection Samuel Womack of the San Francisco 49ers.

Wide Receivers Coach, Del Alexander

While Alexander adds extensive experience in the Power 5 realm, including Notre Dame and last season with Georgia Tech, he’s no stranger to UNLV. He was with the Rebels in 1998 in the same position under Jeff Horton. He also returned to Sin City following a brief stop with the San Diego Chargers, which was for the 2000-2002 seasons under legendary CFB head coach John Robinson. Alexander also worked with Marion in 2015 while at Arizona State.

Tight Ends Coach, Nate Longshore

Longshore is one of two holdovers from the Arroyo regime. The former Cal quarterback was one of Arroyo’s first hires in 2020 and immediately became one of the Rebels’ top recruiters. He had an assist in giving UNLV a No. 2 and No. 3 recruiting class ranking among MWC teams per 247Sports.

Defensive Line Coach, Ricky Logo

While Vice brings experience and expertise to the OL unit, Logo brings the same lengthy elements to the defensive trenches. The longtime DL coach once mentored Osi Umenyiora and Demarcus Ware at Troy University before both became Super Bowl winners. While he’s also had stops at Vanderbilt, Washington State, and in 2022 at Louisiana-Monroe, he’s been in the MWC before with Hawaii (2018-2019) and Colorado State (2015-2017).

Cornerbacks Coach, Akeem Davis

Davis gets his first MWC opportunity through Odom. From 2021-2022, he served as co-defensive coordinator and the DBs coach at Austin Peay University, where his units snatched a combined 32 interceptions, including 19 in 2021, which was second among FCS teams. But like Alexander, he’s coached on the opposite side of the ball: in 2020 as RB coach for Southern Miss, where Frank Gore Jr. became a second-team All-Conference USA back.

Safeties Coach, Damon Magazu

Rounding out Odom’s first UNLV staff is the second leftover from the last regime. Magazu helped get UNLV to finish 10th in the nation in picks, which was also the Rebs’ best output since 2012. He also coached safety Jonathan Baldwin into leading UNLV with seven pass breakups.