Louisville Officially Adds RB Coach De’Rail Sims, Promotes Pete Thomas to QB Coach

Sims comes over from East Carolina, while Thomas previously served as a quality control coach with the Cardinals.
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(Photo of De'Rail Sims: Twitter, Pete Thomas: University of Louisville Athletics)

Press Release from the University of Louisville:

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville head football coach Scott Satterfield announced Monday the additions of De’Rail Sims and Pete Thomas to his coaching staff.

Sims, previously a running backs coach at East Carolina that mentored AAC Rookie of the Year Rahjai Harris, has been named the running backs coach for the University of Louisville.

“My family and I are fired up about joining the Louisville family,” Sims said. “This is a tremendous opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. Thank you to Coach Satterfield for blessing my family with this opportunity.”

“De’Rail is a talented young coach,” Satterfield said. “I’ve watched his career path and have been impressed with the way he handles his business. He brings great energy to our program and our staff and has established great connections with his players. He creates great relationships that has enabled him to be a top recruiter.”

While with the Pirates, Sims was selected to participate in the American Football Coaches Association 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute in 2019. He coached Harris to earn first team all-league honors after rushing for 628 yards and four touchdowns during an eight-game season and helped guide the running backs to its highest rushing total since 2014.

Before joining the ECU staff, Sims coached three seasons at James Madison where his teams combined for a 28-2 record and were 2017 FCS Runners-Up to pair with the 2016 national title.

In leading the Dukes to unprecedented success, Sims oversaw a rushing attack that ranked fourth nationally in rushing touchdowns (108), 6th in rushing yards (9,422) and 13th in rushing yards per game (219.1) over his three-year term.

In 2018, Sims was instrumental in helping JMU's offense net 2,383 rushing yards (183.3 ypg), which stood fourth in the Colonial Athletic Association and 45th nationally and was 25th nationally with 194.3 rushing yards per game in 201, turning in a pair of 400-plus-yard outings (472 vs. Norfolk State, 410 vs. ECU) and accounted for at least three ground scores in five contests.

The 2016 season the Dukes rush for a CAA-record 4,125 rushing yards and held FCS ranks of second in scoring (46.7 ppg), fourth in third-down conversions (50.0 percent), fifth in rushing average (275.0 ypg) and sixth in fewest fumbles lost (4). His unit turned in 18 individual 100-yard rushing performances, including 11 by All-America selection and Sports Network FCS National Player-of-the-Year Khalid Abdullah, who finished the season with 1,809 yards and 22 TDs – both school single-season records.

Sims spent three seasons at Western Carolina (2013-15) as the Catamounts’ running back coach and director of player development where he directed a pair of WCU running backs to All-Southern Conference honors – Detrez Newsome and Darius Ramsey.

He earned an invitation to participate in the NCAA & NFL Coaches Academy in 2014, which is conducted by the NCAA Leadership Development staff and NFL Player Engagement and was also selected to the AFCA’s prestigious 35 Under 35 Coaches Leadership Institute.

Prior to his time at Western Carolina, Sims was the running backs coach and video coordinator at Carson-Newman in 2012, guiding the Eagles to a 9-3 record and the NCAA II playoffs before finishing the campaign with a nation-leading 380.0 rushing average and 52 ground scores.

Sims began full-time collegiate coaching career at Millersville (2010) before returning to alma mater Pikeville a year later.

The Union, S.C. native was a two-year starter at Pikeville, where he played from 2006-08 before joining the coaching staff as a student assistant (working with the linebackers). He earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Pikeville in 2010.

Sims and his wife, Lauren, have a daughter, Amayah.

Thomas has worked the last two years on Satterfield’s staff at Louisville as an offensive quality control coach. He assisted the last two seasons assisting the offensive line and was tabbed a 247Sports' 2019 30-under-30 honoree as one of the top up-and-coming young coaches in college football.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to be the quarterbacks coach at Louisville,” Thomas said. “Working with Coach Satterfield over the years and the culture he created is something special and I look forward to being a part of that at Louisville. The quality of young men in this program has me excited. I can't wait to get started.”

“Pete is a talented young coach and someone I’ve worked closely with a number of seasons,” Satterfield said. “He knows our system and understands how we teach the game to our players. I think he is going to allow us to continue to develop talent and consistency in the quarterback room. I also believe that he is going to be an excellent recruiter for us and help continue Louisville’s strong quarterback tradition.”

The native of San Diego, Calif., has played an integral role in guiding a resurgence in the offense becoming one of only four schools in the country that has averaged both 200 yards rushing and passing over the last two seasons.

Last season, the Cardinals averaged 444.2 yards per game, including 200.0 yards and 21 touchdowns on the ground.

During the 2019 campaign, Thomas provided guidance to former offensive tackle Mekhi Becton, who was the No. 11 selection in the NFL Draft and translated that into a successful first season with the New York Jets.

Thomas assisted the offensive staff in game planning and was a key component in allowing the Cardinals to average 445.9 yards per game since Satterfield took over the program in 2019.

Before joining the Louisville staff, Thomas spent the previous two seasons working under Scott Satterfield at Appalachian State, as an offensive graduate assistant in 2017 and offensive quality control coach in 2018. He also served as the interim quarterbacks coach – calling the plays -- for the 2018 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, which the Mountaineers won 45-13 over Middle Tennessee.

Thomas spent a spring at Texas A&M Kingsville in addition to work at his alma mater Valhalla High School in El Cajon, Calif.

A quarterback during his playing career, Thomas started for three different FBS programs. His collegiate career began at Colorado State, where he started 21 games over the 2010-11 seasons. Thomas transferred to North Carolina State and redshirted the 2012 season before making six starts in 2013. He then closed out his collegiate career in 2014 at Louisiana Monroe. For his career, Thomas threw for more than 9,000 yards and 36 touchdowns, completing 61.7 percent of his passes.

Thomas, who graduated from NC State in 2014 with his bachelor’s degree in communications, played one season for the Los Angeles Kiss of the Arena Football League, throwing for over 2,000 yards and 43 touchdowns.

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