Former Davidson College quarterback Paul Nichols returned to his alma mater Friday as the youngest head football coach in Division I.

Nichols, a 2003 Davidson graduate who turns 32 on Jan. 25, most recently was the director player personnel at the University of Illinois. Previously, he coached at Marshall and Toledo, including as co-defensive coordinator, and completed two seasons as a graduate assistant at Ohio State.

A native of Dunwoody, Ga., Nichols set Davidson school records for career passing yards (5,822), completions (465) and touchdown passes (51). He compiled a 22-6 record as a starting quarterback, leading the Wildcats' only unbeaten season (10-0) as a sophomore in 2000.

He was named a first-team All-Pioneer League selection as a senior in 2002.

Nichols takes over a Pioneer Football League program that was 2-9 this past season. Head coach Tripp Merritt was fired with two games remaining in his eighth season.