Nolan joined the Bears' coaching staff after a successful national and international water polo career. A member of the USA Senior National team from 1994-2000, he competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, helping the United States to sixth place finish along with other former Cal stars Gavin Arroyo, Chris Humbert and Chris Oeding. Nolan was also on Team USA's gold medal-winning squad at the 1993 World University Games in Buffalo, NY; was named Goalie of the Tournament at the 1997 Unicon Cup in Budapest, Hungary; and helped the United States to a gold medal at the 1999 PanAm Games in Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada. He played professionally in Greece for the club team, Naok, in the town of Corfu from 1996-97.
A three-time All-American (1992, 1993, 1994) at Cal, Nolan graduated in 1995 with a degree in political economies of industrial societies. He led the Bears to NCAA titles in 1991 and 1992, including making two match-saving blocks at the end of regulation in the `92 title match against Stanford. The 1992 NCAA championship match is considered by many to be the greatest title match in NCAA water polo history as Cal went on to win 12-11 in sudden death overtime to finish with a perfect 31-0 season record. Nolan was the recipient of the Peter J. Cutino Water Polo Trophy in 1992 as the team's most improved player, and was the team's Most Valuable Player in 1994.
Nolan got married in the summer of 2011 to Kris Koblik, a former women's water polo player at Stanford (1998-2001). Koblik is a professor of art history at Diablo Valley College and the couple live in San Francisco