John Thompson, one of the most well respected defensive coaches in college football, is entering his first season as the Tigers defensive coordinator. Thompson came to Memphis after serving seven seasons as defensive coordinator at the University of Southern Mississippi. He also coached the Golden Eagle's inside linebackers and since 1993, served as assistant head coach.
Thompson joined the staff at Southern Mississippi after coaching stints at Louisiana Tech and Northwestern Louisiana. The results at USM were immediate. The Eagle defense climbed in the national rankings and finished the season ranked in scoring defense and in pass efficiency defense.
In 1998, Thompson's defense continued its success by again being the best defense in Conference USA. The Eagles ranked first in scoring defense and first in total defense for the second consecutive season.
The 1997 Conference USA and Liberty Bowl champions were led by Thompson's defense that ranked first in the conference in scoring defense, pass efficiency and total defense. The Eagles were ranked in the top 21 in the nation in four defensive categories, while competing against four teams that were ranked among the nation's top five in offense.
Thompson's 1997 defense was very impressive. The unit finished a 9-3 season ranked 14th nationally in rush defense, 11th in pass efficiency defense, and 18th in total defense.
USM's Conference USA numbers are equally outstanding. USM finished first in the league in scoring defense, third in pass defense, second in rushing defense and first in total defense in 1997.
At Louisiana Tech, Thompson's 1990 squad ranked 23rd nationally in total defense and 19th in scoring defense. Tech ended the year with a bid to the Independence Bowl playing Maryland.
Thompson, who played collegiate football at the University of Central Arkansas, also has coaching experience at the University of Alabama and the University of Arkansas, as well as five seasons at the high school level. He has coached in three bowl games in his career, including the 1982 Bluebonnet Bowl and the 1987 Hall of Fame Bowl.
The Forrest City, Arkansas, native has coached no less than 27 collegiate players who have gone on to careers in the National Football League, including College Hall of Famer Gary Reasons.
Thompson and his wife, Charleen, have two sons, Cabe and Hays.
THE THOMPSON FILEPersonal
Born: El Paso, Texas
University of Memphis (1999-