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Arizona football hires UCLA’s Johnny Nansen as defensive coordinator

arizona-wildcats-football-2021-johnny-nansen-defensive-coordinator-ucla-usc-don-brown-jedd-fisch Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jedd Fisch has found his next defensive coordinator, plucking him from the staff of a Pac-12 rival.

Arizona has hired Johnny Nansen as the successor to Don Brown, who left after one season to become head coach at UMass.

Nansen, 47, spent the last two years as defensive line coach at UCLA, helping the Bruins lead the Pac-12 in run defense at 124.25 rushing yards allowed per game. Arizona ran for 122 yards and 2.9 yards per carry against UCLA in a 34-16 home loss in October.

UCLA was the latest Pac-12 team that Nansen worked for. Prior to being in Westwood he spent six seasons (2014-19) at USC, the last four coaching linebackers, and from 2009-13 he coached at Washington. During his time at USC he was named 2017 Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year by 247Sports and in 2019 served as the Trojans’ defensive run game coordinator.

247Sports’ recruiting database lists him as the prime recruiter on eight top-100 players during his career.

A 1997 graduate of Washington State, Nansen played defensive line for the Cougars from 1992-96.