Tommy  Thigpen

Tommy Thigpen

Linebackers / Defensive Run Game Coordinator

Alma Mater:
North Carolina '93


Personal Information

Education: North Carolina 1993
Family: Wife Jacinda; Children Asia and Naja

Coaching Experience

  • 2016-pres.
    Tennessee, defensive run game coordinator, linebackers
  • 2013-15
    Tennessee, linebackers
  • 2012
    Auburn, linebackers
  • 2009-11
    Auburn, safeties
  • 2005-08
    North Carolina, linebackers
  • 2004
    Illinois, linebackers
  • 2003
    Illinois, cornerbacks
  • 2001-02
    Bowling Green, cornerbacks, special teams
  • 2000
    Tennessee State, linebackers
  • 1998-99
    North Carolina, GA
  • Photo Gallery
  • Prior to the start of the 2016 season, was named Tennessee's defensive coordinator for run defense while retaining his post as linebackers coach entering his fourth season on Rocky Top.
  • Coached and played in nine bowl games in his career including Vols' 2016 Music City Bowl champions
  • Guided a 2016 Vols LB unit that was decimated by injuries with starters Jalen Reeves-Maybin (eight games) and Darrin Kirkland Jr. (five games) missing a total of 13 games. Colton Jumper led the unit and ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 61 tackles while fellow veterans Cortez McDowell (54 tackles) and Elliott Berry (34 tackles) also posted career bests.
  • Coached 2015 All-SEC selection Jalen Reeves-Maybin and SEC All-Freshman honoree Darrin Kirkland Jr.
  • Was named the National Recruiter of the Year by in 2013 after helping to sign the No. 5 recruiting class in the nation
  • Mentored All-SEC performer Curt Maggitt as he had 11 sacks in 2014, the most by a Vol since John Henderson in 2000
  • In 2014, coached defense which shaved more than 111 yards per game off total defense allowed per game prior to arrival
  • Spent the 2009-12 seasons in the SEC at Auburn, winning the 2010 season BCS Championship
  • In his first season with the Vols, helped LB A.J. Johnson earned AP and Coaches First Team All-SEC honors, the first Vol LB to do so since Jerod Mayo in 2007
  • Worked as Tigers' linebackers coach in 2012 after serving as safeties coach from 2009-11
  • Helped Auburn to ninth-best rushing defense in the NCAA in 2010 (109.1 yards per game)
  • Came to Auburn after working four seasons at his alma mater, North Carolina from 2005-08, where he was the Tar Heels' linebackers coach
  • One of the nation's Top 25 recruiters by in 2007
  • Coached at Illinois for two seasons as linebackers coach in 2004 and cornerbacks coach in 2003
  • Spent 2001 and 2002 at Bowling Green as the Falcons cornerbacks and special teams coach
  • First full-time coaching job came as linebackers coach at Tennessee State in 2000
  • Served as a graduate assistant at North Carolina from 1998-99
  • After an All-ACC career at UNC, was drafted by the New York Giants in the fifth round of the 1993 draft
  • Also played for the Barcelona Dragons in the World League of American Football in 1995-96
  • Won four letters as a linebacker with UNC and served as team captain as a senior in 1992
  • Thigpen and his wife Jacinda have two children, Asia and Naja



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