Thompson spent the past two seasons with the Commodores, first as the outside linebackers coach before being promoted to his current role for the 2015 season.
He has 24 years of coaching experience, arriving at Vanderbilt from San Jose State, where served as defensive coordinator in 2013. Thompson spent five years before that at Cal, working as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator for four seasons before adding associate head coaching duties in ’12. He had an earlier stint at San Jose State as an assistant coach for five seasons.
Before joining the Spartans, Thompson spent seven seasons at Texas Southern, beginning as the running backs coach in 1994 and serving as the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator in ’95 before becoming assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from ’96–2000. He got his start in coaching at his alma mater, Harding University, as a graduate assistant in ’91.
He now joins the staff of new head coach Scottie Montgomery, who was hired as East Carolina’s head coach earlier this month. Montgomery joined the Pirates after two years as Duke’s associate head coach, offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. He replaced Ruffin McNeill after McNeill was abruptly fired earlier this month following a 5–7 season.
East Carolina’s defense ranked sixth in the American Athletic Conference this season in both scoring defense (26.0 points allowed per game) and total defense (400.9 yards allowed per game).