Lustig Promoted, New Hires Announced

Justin Lustig elevated to associate head coach, Larry Black and Nick Howell join staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt football head coach Clark Lea announced Friday that Justin Lustig has been promoted to associate head coach and that Larry Black and Nick Howell have joined the Commodore coaching staff.

Lustig, previously an assistant head coach for Vandy, will continue to serve as the program’s special teams coordinator and tight ends coach.

Black will coach the defensive line, while Howell will serve as the defensive backs coach.

Black most recently coached at Toledo for three seasons, where he groomed multiple All-MAC selections—including Desjuan Johnson, who was on myriad national defensive player of the year watch lists. Selected to join the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship, Black was a graduate assistant in 2018 at Notre Dame while Lea was the defensive coordinator there.

“I am excited for Larry to be joining our program as the defensive line coach,” Lea said. “I have seen firsthand the impact Larry has through the relationships he develops. He is a skilled technician, but also a coach that cares deeply for his players. He is a great fit for our program and will be a tremendous mentor to our student-athletes.”

At Indiana, Black made 127 career tackles in 48 career games for the Hoosiers as a defensive tackle. He began his coaching career at Carthage College in Wisconsin.

Howell comes to Nashville from Virginia, where he served as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach for the Cavaliers from 2016 to 2021. He helped lead Virginia to the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, the Orange Bowl and a College Football Playoff ranking of 24th.

“Nick brings a wealth of experience on the defensive side of the ball,” Lea said. “Throughout his career, he has proven his ability to develop players and strengthen culture, and he certainly will help move us forward in both areas. I am thrilled to have him as a part of the Vanderbilt football family and looking forward to the positive impact he will have in our program.”

Chris Long, Jordan Mack, Charles Snowden, Juan Thornhill and Bryce Hall are among the notables who have played under Howell. His 2018 Virginia defense was among the top 20 nationally in team passing efficiency, passing yards allowed, team defense and scoring defense.

Howell graduated from Weber State in 2005 but began coaching high school football in 2002. He joined the Brigham Young staff in 2007 and remained there until moving to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2016.