If you can’t beat him, then join him. That is the best explanation for why recruiting superstar Lance Thompson has returned to Alabama.
You might remember when Thompson went to Tennessee to join Lane Kiffin, the dynamic Vol duo promised to build a fence around Memphis and prevent Alabama coach Nick Saban from landing top recruits. Well, when Kiffin bolted from Knoxville in the middle of the night faster than a third-world dictator runs from a mob, poor Lance was left to survive in the aftermath under a new coaching staff.
At least Thompson escaped before things get worse in Knoxville. Here is the official release from UA with quotes from both Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Alabama outside linebacker coach Lance Thompson.
Alabama Football Announces Hiring of Lance Thompson (courtesy of UA Media Relations)
University of Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced Wednesday the hiring of Lance Thompson. Thompson returns to the UA staff after spending the last three seasons at Tennessee. As he did in 2007 and 2008, he will work on the defensive staff and coach the outside linebackers for the Crimson Tide. Alabama put together an impressive 12-2 record in his second season, winning the SEC West title and a BCS bowl bid. The Tide ranked third nationally in total defense (263.5 ypg) and seventh nationally in scoring defense (14.3 ppg) in 2008. Thompson was named the Rivals.com National Recruiter of the Year for his work in helping UA land what was widely regarded as the nation’s top signing class in 2008.
“We are pleased and happy to have Lance join our staff,” said Saban. “He has worked for us previously and has always done an outstanding job with all of the aspects that go into being an assistant coach. Lance knows our system on defense well, and he does a great job of communicating that information to the players. On a personal level, he relates well with the players and is a very good recruiter. We are glad to have Lance back with our program at the University of Alabama.”
Thompson spent the last three years at Tennessee (2009-11) working with the linebackers the first two seasons and the defensive line in 2011. Previously, he was a member National Championship staffs at Georgia Tech and LSU. Thompson has been a member of two SEC championship coaching staffs, two ACC championship staffs and one Conference USA divisional winner.
“I’m really glad to be back at Alabama, and I appreciate the opportunity Coach Saban and Kirby Smart have offered me,” said Thompson. “As a defensive coach, it doesn’t get any better. I look forward to doing my part in helping to maintain the success Coach Saban has brought back to the program. The tradition and history at Alabama is like no other place in the country when it comes to college football and this is a special time to be a part of that.”
In his first stint with Saban, Thompson spent two seasons at LSU as the assistant head coach in charge of recruiting and the tight ends coach for the Tigers during their national championship season in 2003. Thompson began his tenure at LSU in 2002 as the defensive line coach.
After his LSU tenure, Thompson spent three years as defensive coordinator at UCF. He served as Alabama’s defensive line coach in 1999-2000 as the Crimson Tide won the 1999 SEC Championship and earned a BCS bowl berth (2000 Orange Bowl).
Prior to his first two-year stint at Alabama, Thompson was a part of the Georgia Tech staff for 11 years. During his stay with Georgia Tech, Thompson was defensive line coach in 1998; defensive ends coach in 1996 and 1997 and tight ends coach in 1995. Thompson served as the Georgia Tech’s recruiting coordinator from 1995-98 and then again in 2001. Prior to serving as an on-field coach for the Yellow Jackets, Thompson held the position of Director of Football Operations at Georgia Tech from 1992-94.
Thompson got his start in coaching in 1988, serving as a graduate assistant for two years at Georgia Tech, followed by two more years as a volunteer assistant in 1990 and 1991. Thompson coached the defensive ends, including former All-American and All-Pro Marco Coleman. Georgia Tech won the national championship in 1990.
As a player, Thompson was a four-year letterman at The Citadel, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in education and mathematics in 1987. A native of Riverdale, Ga., Thompson has three daughters – Allie, Christina and Lane.