U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Air Force women’s gymnastics, along with head coach Doug Day, have announced Josh Nilson as the team’s new assistant coach beginning the 2018 season.
“I am extremely excited about the addition of Coach Josh Nilson,” Day said. “He brings a wealth of technical knowledge to our program along with loads of experience in the Division I ranks. His passion and dedication to the sport is infectious and he will definitely help our team continue to move up the National Rankings.
Nilson, who has 12 years of coaching experience, including nine years at Utah State, most recently served as the interim head coach for Penn State women's gymnastics where he started as an assistant coach before assuming co-interim head coach responsibilities in February.
While with the Nittany Lions as co-interim head coach, Nilson saw the Nittany Lions jump from 45th in the nation to 31st in the final four competitions of the year, while qualifying two all-around competitors to the NCAA Championships. He was also nominated for Northeast Regional Co-Head Coach of the Year honors. Additionally, Nilson served as the recruiting coordinator for Penn State, while also working to schedule future competitions. He was the team's primary coach on both uneven bars and vault, in addition to being the main spotter on all four events.
The 2016 Utah State squad advanced to the NCAA Regional Championships for the third-consecutive season and under Coach Nilson's guidance, the Aggies finished the regular season with an average of 48.833 on the uneven bars, which ranked 28th in the nation. In the Utah State record books, the season average of 48.833 ranks second-best in school history and was the highest average in 13 seasons.
The 2015 season was a banner year for the Aggies as they made their second consecutive appearance at the NCAA Regional Championships. The Aggies re-wrote the record books in the 2015 season as they recorded two of the top-four team scores, set three of the top-10 vault scores and tallied a program-best season average of 48.938 on the vault. For his efforts during the 2015 season, Nilson earned North Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year honors for the second straight year.
Nilson also helped guide Utah State to its best start since the 1999 season and its first NCAA Regional appearance since 2007. The Aggies finished in first place in four of their five meets of the season, including winning the first three, and set a season-high score of 196.075 at the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Championships, which was the fifth-highest score in school history and their highest since 2003. During the Season, USU reached the 196-point mark in three consecutive meets.
Nilson spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Texas Women's University in 2012 and '13. During his time, Nilson was named the 2012 USA Gymnastics Collegiate National Assistant of the Year and Midwest Independent Conference Assistant Coach of the Year after coaching the Pioneers' bars team to a 48.440 season average. On an individual level, he coached one student-athlete to the 2012 USAG Collegiate national title on bars.
Prior to his time at Texas Women's, Nilson spent six years as a part of the Utah State coaching staff. He was an assistant coach from 2009-11 under Jeff Richards and a student-assistant under Ray Corn from 2006-08. Additionally, he coached at the Sports Academy and Racquet Club and the Tytans gymnastics program for three years.
Nilson is married to the former Amanda Corn. The couple has four sons, Tristan, Ezekiel, Remington and Liam.
Nilson, who is a native of Cache Valley, Utah, graduated from Utah State in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in law and constitutional studies with a minor in family finance.