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Polian hires Blackshear for Pack coaching staff


image001-7553312-4379282RENO, Nev. – Second-year Nevada head coach Brian Polian announced his hiring today of Cheston Blackshear to coach the Wolf Pack’s tight ends.

A former standout offensive lineman at Florida, where he helped the Gators to a National Championship, Blackshear comes to Nevada from Georgetown after three seasons coaching in the Mountain West while at New Mexico.

“We are very excited to welcome Cheston Blackshear into our family to assume the role of tight ends coach,” Polian said. “Cheston has an impressive background as a tight ends coach, as well as valuable experience working with the offensive line. His time working at New Mexico gives him insight into our league and he brings with him an outstanding reputation as a recruiter. His experience as a decorated player in the SEC for the University of Florida will also serve as a valuable asset in terms of relating to our players.  As we progressed through our search and interview process, it was clear that Cheston was the perfect fit for us and we are thrilled to have him in the Pack.”

A four-year letterwinner at Florida (1996-99), Blackshear signed with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers in 2000 after graduation. He later played in the XFL with Orlando in 2000-01 and helped lead the way for the Rage to lead the league in rushing.

While at Florida, Blackshear recorded 28 career starts and played in four bowl games, including the Sugar Bowl following the 1996 season, where Florida won the National Championship. He started at guard in the 1997 Citrus Bowl, the 1998 Orange Bowl and the 1999 Citrus Bowl. He earned second-team All-SEC honors as a senior and earned the Fergie Ferguson Award as the senior with the most leadership, character and courage.

“I’m very honored to join Coach Polian’s staff and excited about this opportunity to be a part of the Wolf Pack family,” Blackshear said. “I am looking forward to working with the great young men assembled there as we push towards winning a Mountain West Conference title.”

An Oklahoma native, Blackshear grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., where he was all-state and a SuperPrep All-American at Ed White High. He was the first offensive lineman to ever earn Player of the Year honors from the Florida Times-Union.

His coaching experience includes time at the high school level, coaching running backs at Sandalwood High in Jacksonville, as well as collegiate stops at Florida (graduate assistant, 2002-04), Illinois (GA, 2005) and Columbia (tight ends, 2006 and offensive line, 2007-08) before moving on to New Mexico in 2009.

With the Lobos, Blackshear mentored tight end Lucas Reed to Freshman All-American honors in 2009, first-team All-MW honors in 2010 with All-America and John Mackey Award candidacy in 2011. He also coach lineman Byron Bell, who later went on to start for the Carolina Panthers.

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida and has credits toward a master’s in educational policy.

Blackshear fills the spot left by James Spady, who was named last week as the head coach at Alabama A&M.

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