Sad news to pass along: Dave Nichol, a former Mississippi State assistant, passed away Friday at the age of 45.

USC made the initial announcement on Nichol’s passing. In December, Nichol had accepted the position of inside wide receivers coach and associate head coach for offense on Lincoln Riley’s staff. Riley recently mentioned that Nichol was away from the team for medical reasons. Bruce Feldman reports, per a source, that Nichol was battling cancer.

Nichol spent the past 6 seasons (2016-21) working with Mike Leach coaching receivers. He was Mississippi State’s inside receivers coach for the 2020 and ’21 seasons. Nichol followed Leach from Washington State. At WSU, Nichol initially coached wide receivers before moving to inside receivers.

Nichol played wide receiver at Texas Tech. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1999. While studying for his master’s degree, Nichol was on Leach’s staff as a student assistant in 2000 and 2001. Nichol returned to Texas Tech in 2003, spending 3 seasons as an offensive graduate assistant.

Leach released a statement via Twitter.

“Dave Nichol recently passed away from a sudden battle with a number of health issues,” Leach wrote. “We are stunned by this, and Dave meant a lot to all of us. While we are all suffering the pain of this loss, our thoughts and prayers are with Dave’s family, friends, players and coaches during this time. Dave was family to us, and he was loved by all who knew him. Always a smile on his face, Dave had such a positive personality, attitude and energy. He made everyone around him a better person and impacted everyone he met with kindness, loyalty and friendship. He meant a lot to me as well as countless others, and I will forever be grateful to have him in my life for the last 22 years. He was on my first staff at Texas Tech. Dave is gone way too soon. We have lost an amazing friend, coach and all-around great guy. Rest in peace, my friend. We miss you already.”