Coach Thompson’s Introductory Press Conference

Newly minted Head Coach Thompson at his 1st Press conference

Newly minted Head Coach Thompson at his 1st Press conference

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Citadel football head coach Brent Thompson was introduced at a 9 a.m. press conference on Wednesday. Quotes from the press conference are below.

Opening Statement
Athletic Director Jim Senter

“Thank you everybody for coming, I appreciate you being here on this very important day for us. We’re excited to be here and obviously to be going through this exercise. I’d like to start by saying we are so blessed to have this great city, to have this great college to recruit to. We’re blessed to have the alums and the people that are here. It’s a privilege to be here and to serve in this capacity.

With that being said I can tell you when Coach Houston told me that another school was looking at him, I immediately went into ‘Okay we have to have a plan’ and we’ve got to be able to execute that plan as quickly as we possibly can without compromising what we stand for and want to get done. I do want to take this opportunity to thank our search committee members: Captain Geno Paluso , Dr. Michelle Richardson, Stanley Myers, Rob Acunto, Dr. Harvey Shiller and Mr. Wade St. John. I appreciate their help and their volunteerism and being able to be a part of the search process and help me and General Rosa vet these candidates.

It’s a complement to our school when someone else wants to take your coach. With that being said, Mike Houston put together a great staff which is why we had the privilege of having two really qualified, quality people we could look at, talk to and consider as our next head football coach. As we started to go through the process and talk to the committee, the number one thing we talked about was fit. What does fit mean? It means somebody that embodies what this place is all about, honor, duty and respect; somebody who believes in it, can live by and teach the young men their going to coach that the honor code is something to be valued and it’s something we’re going to live by. For those of you who don’t know a cadet does not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do. That’s our honor code and we’re not going to waiver from that at all, it’s important, it’s part of who we are. That was important for us and we believe we found that in Brent.

As we continued to move forward and we talked about the strengths and what we wanted in our next head football coach, obviously a head football coach has a very important role in the lives of young people and it’s important that their able to help move men into a position where they’re going to grow and our core mission of helping and developing principle leaders is a very centric part of what we do here. So as we continue to talk and interview and contemplate the strengths and what we wanted in our next head coach, Brent kept coming to the forefront. But that’s just a piece of it because that’s just the fit part.

The triple option has been a very consistent part of what we do and when we’ve won here, we’ve always run the triple option. That’s really, I guess you would say, who we are as an offensive philosophy and style. We’re going to continue to do that. That was probably the number one thing that was a separator between our candidates. We had a gentleman here who had 13 years as an offensive coordinator, running the triple option, committed to it, excelling at it at every single level that he’s coached and that’s something we believe will be the cornerstone and the foundation of our program moving forward.

I’m not going to read off all the stats because I’m sure most of you all know them but one of them that stands out is Coach Thompson has had 27 individual 100-yard rushing games with players just here at The Citadel alone in two years. That’s remarkable and probably unrivaled anywhere in America. What we do and what he has done as the architect of the triple option at this school is unparalleled. He also graduated from Norwich, a military school, so he understands cadet life and what living the life of a cadet is, what it’s all about and what it means. We just couldn’t be more pleased and more excited to be able to have Brent here. I want to also welcome Tiffany and their beautiful twin daughters Harper and Emma to your new elevated role in the Bulldog football family and with that I want to introduce and welcome, Brent Thompson, our 25th head football coach at The Citadel.”

Opening Statement
Head Coach Brent Thompson

“Thank you Jim and thank you for this opportunity. I want to start by thanking my family, first my wife Tiffany, my twin girls Emma and Harper, my dad who came down from Wilmington today, Keith Thompson and my mom who couldn’t be here, Kathy Thompson. I also want to thank Gen. Rosa for his leadership and his trust.

I’ve had the benefit of working under some fantastic head coaches who have developed me in the business. Tim Landis gave me my first opportunity to be a coordinator at Bucknell University and I spent 12 years running the triple option at Bucknell. It is the cornerstone of what I believe in and it is the cornerstone of what we do here. There will continuity in our program that we have built over the last two seasons. On the field we will still run a physical triple option attack that will maintain the up-tempo, no huddle that we have established here. On defense we made huge strides last year, we’re going to continue those strides and I’m happy that we’re going to be able to keep Coach Drayton on staff with us. Our focus on defense will not change. It will be stopping the run, pressuring the quarterback and playing physical defense. That has been proven here at The Citadel that it’s what works and what is successful.

I spent four years as part of the corps of cadets at Norwich University. I understand the daily responsibilities of a cadet-athlete on and off the field. It is important to me to represent The Citadel appropriately on and off the field. We have shown that championship standard is attainable here and it is the goal every year to compete for a Southern Conference Championship.”

On the players reaction to the announcement
“I don’t think they had any particular reaction other than they just wanted someone who was going to come in and lead them. When you’re going through a transition like this, a head coach to another coach, I think really what they are looking for is the next leader. You’ve got upperclassmen who have been through this, they understand that it’s going to be okay. I think it was just a reassurance of the freshman that ‘Hey we’ve got a next guy in place’. The timeline was very quick and the best part about that was its going to be a fairly seamless transition because Coach Drayton will be on staff with us.”

On making his own stamp on program
“Coach Houston and I have been together for the last six years, five as the head coach. There’s going to be a ton of similarities between him and I but there are going to be certain things that come up that we will probably show a lot of differences in certain situations. You’ll see a lot of the same style of football out there I know that, that’s how we got a long so well for the past six years.”

On goal of becoming a head coach at a military school
“I believe in these places. I went to a military college, I think it’s a privilege, I think it’s one of the best opportunities a young man can have whether it’s a service academy or a military college. The education provided here is something that you can’t find everywhere else and I love the uniqueness of that. As far as being here I think it’s a great fit, I thought it was a great fit when Coach Houston came down here. I was really excited to come down as the offensive coordinator and I’m even more excited to be the head coach myself.”

On momentum from last season
“I don’t think it has stalled at all. Our players believe and that’s the most important thing. I believe in those players and that’s the number one thing is the belief. If we can move on from there we will be fine, we have to realize what got us to this point and that was hard work, sticking together and being a family. If we continue to do those we will continue to make championship runs like we did last year.”

On the future of the staff
“We haven’t had those discussions per say. We’re going to do everything we can here to keep the staff in place. These guys have done an excellent job this past year and I want to make sure we’re committed to keeping the staff in place. Coach Maurice Drayton is an integral part of what we do here. He’s got inside knowledge of the institution, he’s got inside knowledge of the state of South Carolina, he’s a great low country recruiter and he’s a fabulous resource for us. He’s going to be my assistant head coach. I think everything that we do will be run through him as well and we will make a lot of joint decisions.”

On the feeling from the recruits
“We’ve been able to retain most of the guys that we think are committed to us right now. It will be my priority to go visit those guys as soon as I get done here. The best thing about it is having such a short transition time because they want to know there’s a next guy in place. I’ve called most of our committed recruits so between calling and visiting them I think we will be able to handle them”

On the impact the photos had on recruiting
“First of all with the photo, I appreciate the strong leadership General Rosa has shown throughout the situation. Our values of honor, duty and respect are most important to us. I think it gives us the opportunity to face this issue head on and I think we have made it clear that this is not what The Citadel is all about. We’ve been very, very upfront, Gen. Rosa has spoken with our recruits. I think we’re going to be fine moving forward.”

On following Coach Houston
“I always consider that when taking a job, you know who you are following. But my number one belief was in these players. They work very, very hard, they do a great job and I think that we can do more with them. I think we have proven what we can do this past year and I think we have only scratched the surface. I think sustainability is the goal here.”

On nerves
“Of course, if I said I wasn’t I’d be lying. I’m excited, I’m running on a lot of adrenaline right now but I’m extremely excited and I think it’s a great opportunity and I’m extremely happy to be here.”


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