Skip to main content

Former College Football Coach, Longtime NFL Assistant Dies At 68

A closeup of a Nike Vapor Elite football sitting on a football field.

(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

On Wednesday, the UNLV Rebels had heartbreaking news to share with their community. Former player and coach Wayne Nunnely has passed away at the age of 68.

Nunnely began his UNLV career as a fullback in 1972. Fast forward four years later, and he became a graduate assistant for the Rebels' coaching staff.

After brief stints with Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton and the University of the Pacific, Nunnely made his way back to UNLV as a running backs coach in 1982.

Nunnely was then promoted to head coach from 1986-89, owning a 19-25 record during that span. It's worth noting he was the first Black head coach in UNLV history.

Desiree Reed-Francois, the athletic director for UNLV, released a statement regarding this unfortunate news.

"We are saddened to learn of the passing of former head coach Wayne Nunnely," Reed-Francois said. "He was a role model as our only football alumnus to later become head coach and was truly blessed to have touched so many lives while teaching the sport he loved for nearly four decades."

In addition to being a head coach at the collegiate level, Nunnely spent time as an assistant coach in the NFL. He was a defensive line coach for the Broncos, Chargers and Saints.

Our thoughts are with the Nunnely family during this time.