Brent Thompson has been named The Citadel’s 25th head football coach, Athletic Director Jim Senter announced Tuesday.
“I am proud to announce Brent Thompson as the next head football coach at The Citadel,” Senter said. “He has been the architect of our highly successful triple option offense, which we consider part of our identity here. He has experience as a coordinator at three different institutions and directed one of the best rushing offenses in FCS each of the last two seasons. His hire allows us to continue building on the foundation he helped establish as we look to take our program to the next level. In addition to his football expertise and ability to connect with our cadet-athletes, he graduated from a military college and understands the additional demands placed on the team. When we started this search, we wanted to find the perfect fit for The Citadel and I believe we found that in Coach Thompson.”
Thompson served as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator and quarterbacks/B-Backs coach for the past two seasons. His physical rushing attack produced 27 individual 100-yard rushing games in that time, including a single-season program-record 14 in 2015, which ranks as the most in any two-year stretch in school history.
“This is a fantastic day for me and my family,” Coach Thompson said. “I’m honored to be the new head coach at The Citadel and want to thank Jim Senter, Gen. Rosa and the rest of the search committee for this opportunity. I’m looking forward to continuing the success we have begun to establish within the program, and it is important to me that we maintain continuity to give our cadet-athletes the best chance to succeed on the field and in life. We will build on the achievements from the last two seasons and represent The Citadel the proper way.”
In 2015, The Citadel earned a co-Southern Conference championship behind a school-record-tying six SoCon wins and finished 9-4 overall after advancing to the second round of the NCAA FCS Playoffs for only the second time in school history. The Bulldogs, who finished the season with a conference-best +117 scoring margin that included a +100 margin in SoCon play, earned the program’s first road playoff win with a 41-38 victory at Coastal Carolina in the first round of the playoffs.
In The Citadel’s 23-22 win at South Carolina, junior B-Back Tyler Renew piled up a career-high 174 rushing yards, the most allowed at home by South Carolina since 2006 when Doak Walker Award winner and Heisman Trophy finalist Darren McFadden rushed for 219 yards. Renew’s total was higher than five teams’ rushing totals against the Gamecocks in 2015. The next week, at Coastal Carolina, the Bulldogs broke a school record with four 100-yard rushers and piled up 524 rushing yards, the most in an NCAA Playoff game since 2012 and the second-highest single-game rushing total in FCS in 2015 behind The Citadel’s 535 yards in the season opener.
Renew and senior offensive lineman Sam Frye were named All-Americans, and Frye and junior offensive lineman Kyle Weaver earned All-Southern Conference honors. In addition, offensive lineman Tyler Davis and B-Back Evan McField earned spots on the All-Southern Conference Freshman Team.
As a team, the Bulldogs broke school records for all-purpose yards, total offense yards and rushing yards. The Citadel led the Southern Conference and ranked second in FCS with an average of 346.9 rushing yards per game, an average of 17.21 yards per completion and allowing 0.62 sacks per game. The Bulldogs also led the SoCon with 5.70 yards per rush and 41 rushing touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Dominique Allen led the Southern Conference and tied for 17th in FCS, second among quarterbacks, with 13 rushing touchdowns. Allen also ranked third in the SoCon in points responsibility with 104, fifth with 953 rushing yards, seventh with an average of 140.3 yards of total offense per game and eighth with an average of 6.0 points scored per game.
In his first year at The Citadel, Thompson was instrumental in the development of Aaron Miller as the senior ranked second in the Southern Conference with 1,080 rushing yards, the highest total by a Bulldog since 1998, and finished the regular season 31st in the nation and second among quarterbacks. The B-back combination of Tyler Renew and Isiaha Smith rushed for 1,352 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Thompson came to Charleston after coordinating the offense at Lenoir-Rhyne under head coach Mike Houston from 2010-13. Operating out of the triple option offense, Thompson’s attack was tops in rushing in Division II in 2013, averaging 370.9 yards per game, and set the NCAA record for all divisions in rushing yards in a season with 5,563.
In 2012 Lenoir-Rhyne compiled 4,515 yards on the ground and finished second in the nation in rushing at 376.2 per game. The Bears also had their highest output of total offense in a season (430.6 ypg) since 1994 and averaged 35.2 points per game.
In 2011 Thompson guided Lenoir-Rhyne to nearly 400 yards of offense per game (397.0 ypg) while the squad averaged 33.6 points per outing. The Bears also ranked third in the nation in rushing (287.1 ypg), and quarterback Major Herron was named to the all-league first team.
Thompson headed up a Bear attack in 2010 that averaged more than 400 yards of total offense for the first time in 18 years and led Division II in rushing at 319.5 yards per game.
Thompson came to Lenoir-Rhyne after serving as an assistant coach at Bucknell for seven seasons (2003-09). In 2009, Thompson served as the Bison’s offensive coordinator in addition to his duties as recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach. Thompson started his career at the Lewisburg, Pa., school as the wide receivers coach in 2003.
As quarterbacks and fullbacks coach in 2004, Thompson mentored quarterback Daris Wilson to first-team All-Patriot League honors.
Prior to Bucknell, Thompson coached two seasons (2001-02) at Northeastern where he oversaw the running backs and was the team’s video coordinator. In 2002, Thompson helped lead the Huskies to the Atlantic 10 championship.
Thompson coached All-American L.J. McKanas, who broke the school’s career rushing record and was second in the nation in that category in 2001.
Thompson, a 1998 graduate of Norwich with a degree in peace, war and diplomacy, was a two-year letterman as a defensive back on the football squad. He began his coaching career at Dickinson in the fall of 1998 as a graduate assistant and worked with the outside linebackers before serving as the wide receivers coach at Stony Brook in 2000.
Thompson is married to the former Tiffany Lebengood, and the couple has two-year-old twin daughters Harper and Emma.