Thursday, March 13, 2014

D2 Notes: Gannon Hires Thompson as DC/DB Coach

By: Gannon Athletics
ERIE, Pa. - John Thompson has been named the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Gannon University it was announced Thursday afternoon by head coach Brad Rzyczycki.

Thompson brings 18 years of collegiate coaching experience to Gannon, including nine seasons as a defensive coordinator. He becomes a Golden Knight after spending the last three seasons as the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at St. Vincent (Pa.) College. His defensive backs earned all-conference accolades four times during the last two campaigns.

"Coach Thompson is a great addition to the Gannon football staff," said Rzyczycki. "In addition to being a player's coach, his defensive coordinator resume speaks for itself. Coach Thompson is also a great fit for Gannon University as a recruiter. He understands and embraces the mission of Gannon University. We're extremely happy to have him join our family."

Thompson helped St. Vincent (Pa.) earn a berth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Southwest Bowl with a 6-5 record in 2011 after the Bearcats went 3-7 the previous season. Under Thompson's leadership, the 2011 Bearcat defense led the Presidents' Athletic Conference (PAC) in scoring defense (17.1), pass efficiency defense (103.2) and interceptions (18). St. Vincent also ranked second among conference teams in total defense (286.4) and rushing defense (106.7). In the process, St. Vincent established new school records in those five categories.

The Rome, N.Y., native previously spent four years (2007-10) as an assistant coach at Mercyhurst. He began his Laker tenure as the recruiting coordinator, special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach in 2007. He then assumed the defensive coordinator role from 2008-10. In 2010, Mercyhurst won the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) title, captured the ECAC Lambert Cup, was named ECAC Team of the Year and made its first-ever NCAA Division II national playoff appearance. Under Thompson's guidance, the defense unit surrendered only 286 yards per game and fewer than 13 points during seven different contests. The Laker defense ranked among the top 20 nationally in total defense during each of his three years as the defensive coordinator. His defensive student-athletes earned all-conference accolades 18 times during his tenure.

Thompson spent six years (2000-05) at NCAA I-AA (presently Football Championship Subdivision) Sacred Heart prior to his stint at Mercyhurst, serving as the team's defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach from 2000-05. Sacred Heart produced a perfect 11-0 record in 2001, winning the Division I-AA mid-major national hampionship.

His coaching resume also includes a two-year stop at St. Francis (Pa.) where he served as the linebackers and defensive backs coach, as well as the recruiting coordinator. He started his coaching career at his alma mater Marist, where he was an assistant coach in 1996 and 1997. Thompson's defense led the country in total defense (212.0) and rushing defense (48.0) in 1997.

Thompson graduated from Marist in 1994 with a degree in Business Administration. He was a four-year letterwinner for the Red Foxes. A member of the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA), Thompson resides in Erie with his wife Sarah (Kovach) and son Ryan Richard (1).

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