Skip to main content

Nathaniel Willingham

Defensive Backs/Nickelbacks

College: Menlo College

Hometown: Mountain View, CA

Experience: 6 years


NATHANIEL WILLINGHAM enters his third season with the New York Jets after joining Robert Saleh's staff as the defensive assistant on February 1, 2022. Willingham was promoted to the defensive backs/nickelbacks coach prior to the start of the 2024 season. For Willingham, this is his sixth season coaching in the NFL, after five at the college level.

Since 2022, Willingham has been a part of a defense who has ranked second overall in total defense in the NFL, allowing 301.7 yards per game, a significant improvement from their 397.6 average in 2021.

Prior to joining the Jets, Willingham spent three seasons with Denver (2019-21) as the defensive quality control coach. During his time, the Broncos become the first team since 1995 to lead the league in red zone defense in consecutive seasons (2019-20).

Willingham spent five seasons at the college level, including four years at Stanford as a football quality control analyst (2018), defensive assistant (2016-17), and recruiting assistant (2015). In his time there, the Cardinal posted a 40-14 record and won the Rose Bowl (2015). He got his start in college coaching at Menlo College (2014) in California as the tight ends coach before the school eliminated the football program.

A former prep center and defensive tackle at Skyline (Sammamish, WA), Willingham began his coaching career at the school in a variety of roles, ultimately serving as the defensive line coach (2011-12). In his three seasons coaching the varsity, the school won a pair of state championships and posted a 37-5 record.

Willingham and his wife, Rachel, have two sons, Auggie and Emory. His father, Tyrone, a coach for over 30 years, was the head coach at Stanford (1995-2001), Notre Dame (2002-04) and the University of Washington (2005-08).


New York Jets | 2022-Present

Defensive Backs/Nickelbacks - 2024

Defensive Assistant - 2022-23

Denver Broncos | 2019-21

Defensive Quality Control - 2019-21

Stanford University | 2015-18

Football Quality Control Analyst - 2018

Defensive Assistant - 2016-17

Recruiting Assistant - 2015

Menlo College | 2014

Tight Ends - 2014

Skyline (WA) HS | 2008-12

Defensive Line - 2011-12

Assistant Linebackers - 2010

Defensive Line/Offensive Line (J.V.) - 2008-09