TUCSON, ARIZONA – The Tucson Sugar Skulls have added an assistant coach to the team’s first staff, hiring Malcolm Nelson, an experienced defensive coach who was in the Indoor Football League the past two years.

Nelson was the defensive line and linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for the Iowa Barnstormers, the defending IFL champions, in 2017 and 2018. He was on the Barnstormers staff with Sugar Skulls Head Coach Marcus Coleman, who was defensive coordinator.

“Coach Nelson gives us the familiarity and experience that we need for a new team,” Coleman said. “Our experience together gives us a head start on putting our team together with a common philosophy and goals.”

Prior to joining the Barnstormers, Nelson was an assistant football coach at Livingstone College, an NCAA Division II school in Salisbury, North Carolina. In six years at the school, he coached defensive line, running backs and special teams. He also was an administrator in the athletic department as an associate athletic director for compliance. While at Livingstone College, Nelson spent the 2011 training camp with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a participant in the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.

Nelson was a wide receiver for two years at Clemson University in 1989 and 1990 before transferring to Kent State for his last two years of eligibility. He is a graduate of Kent State.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with Coach Coleman to bring a championship to Tucson,” Nelson said. “I’m particularly excited about working with a new franchise and with a new opportunity in a great community.”

The Tucson Sugar Skulls are in their first year of operation as an expansion franchise of the Indoor Football League. The team will begin its inaugural season in March with home games at the Tucson Arena.