THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University announced Tuesday, Sept. 16, that Steve Axman will serve as interim head coach for the Colonel football program for the remainder of the season. A search for a permanent head coach will begin immediately.
Axman, a native of Huntington Station, New York, will take over for Charlie Stubbs, who resigned this weekend due to health concerns. In addition to his head coaching responsibilities, Axman will oversee the quarterbacks and help direct the offense.
Known for developing young quarterbacks and high-powered offenses, Axman brings a wealth of experience after coaching at programs such as UCLA, Washington, Minnesota, Stanford and Arizona. He coached several top-flight quarterbacks during his tenure, including UCLA’s Troy Aikman and Washington’s Marques Tuiasosopo. His last stint was at the University of Idaho from 2007-11, where he served as offensive coordinator for the Vandals.
“Coach Axman brings incredible experience to Nicholls, having coached in a number of quality programs and a number of different styles,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “His background makes him a great fit to instill a winning spirit in the Colonel football program and steer the team through the remainder of the 2014 season.”
“Under the circumstances, this is the best solution that we could hope for as a temporary replacement,” said Rob Bernardi, Nicholls Director of Athletics. “Steve is an expert in quarterback play. I think this gives us the best opportunity to move forward and have success for this season.”
Axman began his coaching career at East Stroudsburg State before moving on to positions at Illinois, Army and Albany State. He joined the University of Arizona staff as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five seasons, worked a stint with the Denver Gold of the United States Football League and then coached at Stanford and UCLA.
At UCLA, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman ranked second in the NCAA in passing efficiency under Axman’s guidance, leading the Bruins to a 10-2 record and a No. 9 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. Following his time with UCLA, Axman joined the staff at Maryland, where he coached future NFL quarterbacks Neil O’Donnell and Scott Zolak.
Axman landed his first head-coaching job at Northern Arizona University, directing the Lumberjack program for eight seasons. He finished his career at NAU as the second-winningest coach in program history with 48 victories.
After a year at Minnesota, Axman joined the Washington Huskies staff. In his first season, Tuiasosopo was named Pac-10 Player of the Year as he led the Huskies to a Rose Bowl title. Three years later, Axman returned to UCLA as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Before his final stop in Idaho, he coached the quarterbacks for the 12-2 Montana Grizzlies in 2006.
Axman’s first game with the Colonels will be Saturday, Sept. 20 at North Texas. The matchup with the former Southland Conference foe will be broadcast on the American Sports Network, with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m.