USC assistant coach Dave Nichol, hired this past December as the team’s inside receivers coach and associate head coach for offense, passed away on Friday in McKinney, Texas, the program announced. Nichol was 45.

He is survived by his father, Robert Nichol Sr., and brothers Robert Nichol Jr. and Jimmy Nichol. Multiple reports stated that Nichol had been fighting cancer.

“We are heartbroken and devastated,” said USC football head coach Lincoln Riley in a statement from the program.  “Dave was such a tremendous human being and a fantastic football coach.  He absolutely loved the game and constantly poured his heart and soul into his teams.  He will be dearly missed.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family.  We, as a program, look forward to playing and coaching for him as we move forward.”

USC announced Monday that Nichol had stepped away from the team to focus on a private medical matter. In his place, offensive analyst Luke Huard was named the interim inside receivers coach.

Nichol came to USC after spending the previous two seasons (2020-21) at Mississippi State as the inside receivers coach. The Texas Tech alum served as a student assistant on Mike Leach’s staff for the Red Raiders, a spot Riley himself would also go on to fill. The two crossed paths again at East Carolina when Nichol coached the Pirates’ receivers and Riley the quarterbacks. When Riley left to take the offensive coordinator position at Oklahoma in 2015, Nichol took his place as the team’s OC.

“We are stunned by this, and Dave meant a lot to all of us,” Leach wrote in a statement shared to Twitter. “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 tough 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 had 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.”

Information on a memorial service for Nichol is pending.