Southern Utah University’s football team is expected to bring on current Northern Arizona University defensive coordinator Andy Thompson in the same role, according to Lance Hartzler of Sun Sports.
Thompson will take on the role of defensive play calling from head coach Demario Warren, who took up the role after former defensive coordinator Rod Chance abruptly left for the University of Oregon shortly before the 2018 season.
Thompson inherits an SUU defense which was one of the worst in the FCS last season, finishing second to last in total defense and 115 in turnovers gained.
NAU’s coaching staff was thrown into limbo after longtime head coach Jerome Souers was replaced by former Memphis DC Chris Ball earlier this week.
Thompson had spent 13 years coaching for the Lumberjacks in various roles. Last season Thompson was the associate head coach, and many expected him to be named Souers’ successor.
NAU’s defense intercepted 17 passes last season, and has been one of the Big Sky’s best pass defenses during Thompson’s tenure.
This is great news for the Thunderbirds, who intercepted three passes last season on their way to a 1-11 finish.
From the SUU Athletics Department:
The Thunderbird football program and head coach Demario Warren have announced the hiring of Andy Thompson as the team’s new Defensive Coordinator. Thompson has spent the last 14 seasons at Northern Arizona, 10 of which were spent as the team’s DC.
“I have respected Andy and his work for a long time, and couldn’t be more thrilled to add someone with his experience to our staff,” Warren said. “He is a great coach and mentor, and will be a great addition to our program and community.”
Warren served as the defensive coordinator for the Thunderbirds during the 2018 campaign following the departure of Rod Chance leading up to the season.
Thompson coached more than 60 All-Big Sky team members during his tenure with the Lumberjacks.
NAU finished the 2018 season third in the Big Sky in total defense, allowing a league-low 1,797 yards through the air. In total the Lumberjacks only allowed 148 completions and finished the year with 17 interceptions. They also gave up the least amount of yards at 3,824. At the end of the 2018 season Jake Casteel was one of the biggest playmakers for the Lumberjacks under the direction of Thompson. He finished the year with 90 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and an interception.
In 2013, Thompson was integral in the Lumberjacks making their first FCS Playoff Appearance in 10 years. That season, 10 of Thompson’s players earned All-Conference honors, including AP All-American Lucky Dozier. That same season the Lumberjacks led the FCS in defensive touchdowns, as they broke into the endzone on eight different occasions.
“Really excited and thankful for this opportunity to join a new family at Southern Utah,” Thompson said. “I have a great deal of respect for coach Warren and what he has built at SUU, and I look forward to becoming part of that. It’s been a great 14 years in Flagstaff, but my family and I are excited for the adventure ahead and look forward to helping Southern Utah bring more championships home in the future.”
Story by: Connor Sanders
Photos courtesy of SUU and NAU Athletics