Citadel names Brent Thompson new head football coach

Brent Thompson, our new Head Football Coach

Brent Thompson, our new Head Football Coach

Jeff Hartsell
Jan 19 2016

The Citadel wasted little time in replacing former football coach Mike Houston. Just a couple of hours after Houston was officially introduced at James Madison on Tuesday — and just a day after his departure — The Citadel announced that offensive coordinator Brent Thompson will be the Bulldogs’ new head coach. The school will hold a 9 a.m. news conference Wednesday to formally introduce Thompson, who spent the last two seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive coordinator under Houston.

The choice for athletic director Jim Senter and Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa came down to one of two coordinators on staff — Thompson or defensive coordinator Maurice Drayton. Drayton, a 1998 graduate of The Citadel working his second stint as a Bulldog assistant, would have been the first African-American head coach in a major sport at The Citadel. Thompson and Drayton were both interviewed Monday, and both met Tuesday with Rosa. In the end, the pick was Thompson, a 1998 graduate of another military school, Norwich University.

“(Thompson) has been the architect of our highly successful triple option offense, which we consider part of our identity here,” Senter said in statement. “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.” Senter said the choice of Thompson would allow The Citadel to “build on the foundation he helped establish.” “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,” Senter said. “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’s triple-option offense helped revitalize Citadel football, boosting the Bulldogs to a 9-4 record, Southern Conference championship, playoff victory and upset win at South Carolina last season.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the success we have begun to establish within the program,” Thompson said. “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.”

Many former Bulldog players had hoped that The Citadel would hire its first black coach, especially in light of recent racially charged incidents at The Citadel and in Charleston. “I’m more hurt than disappointed,” said former Citadel player Nick Johnson, a 2001 graduate who played with and for Drayton. “I’ve seen the sacrifices Maurice has made for the institution, and guys like Kenny Carter, Keith Jones, Stump Mitchell and Everette Sands. “These are quality coaches who wanted to come back and be part of The Citadel tradition. “These are guys who care about the program, and they deserve an opportunity to come back and lead it.”


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