South Tahoe grad named top defensive coach for Austrian football club

Staff Report
Nick Garratt was recently named defensive coordinator for the Swarco Raiders Tirol.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — South Tahoe graduate and former USC linebacker Nick Garratt has been named as the top defensive coach for an Austrian football team.

Garratt, 35, was recently hired to be the defensive coordinator for the Swarco Raiders Tirol, one of Europe’s most successful American football teams, including being the defending champions of the Central European League.

“I’ve wanted to be part of the Swarco Raiders organization for five years,” Garratt told “I’ve played and coached all over Europe and I always felt that Innsbruck and the Raiders organization would provide the space to be who I wanted to be as a coach, mentor and person. I look forward to helping young men find their own identity, compassion, backbone and humanity in a competitive and challenging climate.”

After graduating from South Tahoe in 2005, Garratt walked on at USC, who was at the time coached by current Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

Garratt through hard work ended up earning a scholarship with the Trojans. During his time with the Pac-10 juggernaut, he won four Pac-10 titles and also claimed three wins in the Rose Bowl.

After running out of eligibility at USC in 2009 and armed with a Masters degree in communication and education and a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy, Garratt spent some time traveling in Europe. During his European vacation, Garratt met with a former Salzburg Bulls player now on the club’s management team, and their talks eventually spawned into the idea of Garratt resuming his football career with the Austrian club.

When Garratt returned to the states, he assisted with the STHS football team and led a strength program for the school’s football and basketball players.

“Coaching at Tahoe made me re-evaluate the values that should be instilled in football,” he said. “I feel like I really didn’t understand that at USC. I was confused at USC in certain respects – how I’m supposed to play and the values in the game,” Garratt told the Tribune in 2011.

“Being able to have that input with the team that I’m going to play for and live out what I value in football,” he added. “I feel like I’m playing for the right reasons this time.”

He continued his career in Europe in 2011 with the Bulls.

In 2013, Garratt gained experience as a coach at the Seahawks training camp. He then moved to Italy, where he coached the Bolzano Giants to two Super Bowls and one semifinal in four years.

Swarco Raiders Head Coach Florian Grein told, “Nick is a great addition to our coaching staff. Through his experience under Pete Carroll, he brings a lot of new ideas and will do everything to bring the defense into shape. On a human level, too, Nick is an absolute asset to our program. I am very happy to have him on our staff.”

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