TAMPA - The University of South Florida has added Walt Wells and Nick Sheridan to its offensive football staff, head coach Willie Taggart announced on Thursday. Wells will serve as the offensive coordinator, while coaching the offensive line, and Sheridan will handle quarterbacks, while serving as passing-game coordinator. Both coaches were members of coach Taggart's staff at Western Kentucky and will begin their careers at USF after WKU's bowl game.
"Walt Wells and Nick Sheridan are great teachers and great mentors," Taggart said. "Both played a critical role in building the foundation at WKU. They understand the way we will run our offensive system and our program."
Wells joins the USF staff after spending 10 years at Western Kentucky working with the offensive line, which included four years as WKU's running-game coordinator. Under his direction, four Hilltopper offensive linemen earned All-America honors. WKU ranked in the top four in the Sun Belt Conference in rushing each of the last four seasons, leading the league with 181.6 rushing yards per game in 2011 and improving that number to 186.2 yards per game in 2012. In addition, four Hilltopper linemen earned all-Sun Belt honors over the last three seasons.
A Nashville, Tenn. native, Wells arrived at WKU after working with the line and tight ends at Eastern Kentucky the previous six years. He was a part of three teams that won eight games and earned an Ohio Valley Conference championship, coaching seven all-league players and an All-American. Wells was also responsible for recruiting in the Southeast and was the strength and conditioning coach for two-and-a-half seasons. EKU ranked in the top 10 in the nation in rushing his last two years.
Wells was the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Cumberland (Tenn.) from 1994-96, leading an offense that topped the NAIA in rushing two years, while helping the Bulldogs to a top-15 ranking and eight wins in their best season. Five CU players were selected to the all-conference team, with one collecting All-America honors. Wells also spent two years as an assistant at Smyrna (Tenn.) High School.
Wells earned a bachelor's degree in finance from Belmont in 1993 after transferring from Austin Peay, where he was on the football team for four years, having started and lettered in two of those seasons. He added a master's degree in human relations management in 1995 at Cumberland.
Sheridan, whose father Bill is currently the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, comes to USF after spending two seasons on Taggart's staff at Western Kentucky. He was the quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator in 2012 after serving as the team's offensive graduate assistant in 2011.
In 2012, Sheridan guided Kawaun Jakes to a 147.8 pass efficiency rating, which ranked 28th nationally. Jakes passed for 2,289 yards and 21 TDs, while completing 64.6 percent of his passes, en route to honorable mention all-conference honors.
Sheridan worked closely with the Hilltopper quarterbacks in 2011. During his first year on the Hill, he was instrumental in WKU's improvement on offense, and helped the Hilltoppers post one of the best turnarounds in Sun Belt Conference history. Prior to joining WKU's staff in the spring of 2011, Sheridan coached quarterbacks at his alma mater, Saline High School in Saline, Mich.
A 2010 graduate of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in political science, Sheridan walked on to the Wolverine's football team in the fall of 2006, and earned a scholarship prior to his junior season. He saw action in 12 games under center during his career in Ann Arbor, making four starts during the 2008 season. Over that time, he completed 70-of-148 passes for 701 yards and a pair of touchdowns.