Three of Butch Jones’ assistants on his last staff at Tennessee have already found new homes as coaches. And now a fourth former Jones assistant has accepted a job to coach elsewhere.
Tommy Thigpen will reportedly be the new linebackers coach under Larry Fedora at North Carolina per a report from 247Sports. Thigpen was hired by Butch Jones in December of 2012 shortly after Jones was named the head coach of the Vols. Thigpen served as Tennessee’s linebackers coach for all five of Jones’ seasons at Tennessee.
Thigpen was thought to be one of the best recruiters on Jones’ staff during Jones’ five years at Tennessee. He was the main recruiter for five-star defensive end Kyle Phillips, five-star running back Jalen Hurd, five-star receiver Josh Malone, five-star receiver Preston Williams, four-star linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr., and four-star safety Nigel Warrior among others for the Vols.
North Carolina is Thigpen’s Alma Mater. He was an All-ACC linebacker for the Tarheels and had coached there previously. He was a grad assistant for North Carolina from 1998-99 and returned to coach linebackers there from 2005-08.
Now he returns to North Carolina once again to coach the same position.
Thigpen joins three other former Jones assistant coaches who have moved on to find new jobs. Former defensive coordinator Bob Shoop took the defensive coordinator position at Mississippi State, former defensive backs coach Chalrton Warren took the same position at Florida, and former quarterbacks coach Mike Canales was hired as UTEP’s offensive coordinator.
Thigpen made $505,000 this past season with Tennessee and was slated to make the same in 2018 had he stayed on with the Vols. His buyout will be mitigated by his contract with North Carolina.