Thompson leaves GSU; Curry will interview Midget

John Thompson he is not happy to be leaving as Georgia State’s defensive coordinator, but he is excited to get to go home to Arkansas and join friend Gus Malzahn at Arkansas State.

Thompson, an Arkansas native, joined coach Bill Curry’s first staff  as defensive coordinator in 2008. He resigned on Saturday to take over the same job with the Red Wolves.

“Nothing here had anything to do with me going,” Thompson said. “It was all about the situation there and where it is, what it is.”

Curry said he is happy for him.

“It was just something he couldn’t turn down,”  Curry said. “I don’t blame him at all and I’m very pleased. Like everyone else he came as an act of faith and has worked hard to get us to this point.”

Curry said Thompson’s decision may affect the team’s plans to install a different defensive scheme, a 4-2-5, to replace the various systems used last year when the Panthers gave up 31.2 points and 403.3 yards per game. The Panthers begin spring practice on March 6. Curry said he has some preferences for the defense, but declined to say what they are because he doesn’t want to lock the team into something.

“Whoever takes over as coordinator will have the opportunity to sell me on the system that he uses,” Curry said. “Or if we hire someone on staff, that person will have flexibility to use their system.”

Curry said he will interview Anthony Midget, already on staff as defensive backs coach and special teams coordinator, for the job. He said he also expects he will get a lot of phone calls. Midget has also been one of the original members of Curry’s staff, joining the program after spending 2007 season as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, Virginia Tech. Other than Thompson, no one on Curry’s staff has experience as a college defensive coordinator.

Another fact that may complicate the search is Curry’s contract expires next year and he has repeatedly said he won’t decide on his future until after this season. Athletic director Cheryl Levick has said Curry can coach at Georgia State for as long as he wants.

Thompson said Curry’s contract status played no part in his decision and that he’s confident the team will bounce back from last year’s 3-8 season.

“Biggest thing is it was a really a blessing to be here with coach Curry to get this program off the ground,” he said. “I know that they are going to be good.”

Curry said he would like to have the position filled by the time spring practice begins.

“But we won’t make it happen just to say it’s done,” he said. “You can always change spring practice. Don’t want to, but we can.”

Before working with Curry at Georgia State, Thompson spent time as defensive coordinator at several schools, including Ole Miss, South Carolina, Florida and Arkansas, among others during his 29 years of college coaching experience.

Malzahn was hired by Arkansas State during the offseason after he spent the previous three season as Auburn’s offensive coordinator. The Red Wolves went 10-3, 8-0 in the Sun Belt Conference last year, prompting Ole Miss to hire Hugh Freeze, the head coach behind that success, as its new coach.

Thompson said he regrets that he wasn’t able to tell his Georgia State players in person that he is leaving. The school is on Spring Break.

“It bothers me that I don’t get to see them face to face because I will be gone in a couple of days,” he said. “But it was the right time to go.”

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

36 comments Add your comment

I wonder...

February 25th, 2012
6:16 pm

Who will be his replacement?

Panama

February 25th, 2012
6:27 pm

Crap! Timing is everything. I hope we have a quick answer

GSUisInStatesboro

February 25th, 2012
6:29 pm

if a tree fell in the woods……Panther football hahahahahahahhahahahahahah!

GSU is in Atlanta

February 25th, 2012
6:33 pm

Doug, are you hearing about any possible replacements?

I hope we can get someone asap for the long term, but with Curry not having signed a contract extension yet, who knows.

GSU is in Atlanta

February 25th, 2012
6:36 pm

If Southern got coverage outside of Stateboro….hahahahahahahahahah!

GSU is in Atlanta

February 25th, 2012
6:36 pm

WhereIsStatesboro?

February 25th, 2012
6:38 pm

Hey everyone let’s go read the Georgia Southern section in the AJC? Oh, wait…perhaps you should refer to yourselves as “the artist formally known as GSU”.

[...] State football has lost defensive coordinator John Thompson to Arkansas State per head coach Gus Malzahn this afternoon. “We are excited to add another coach to our staff who has strong ties to the state of [...]

GStateBen

February 25th, 2012
6:40 pm

This, in no way, should be viewed as a negative. In spite of a disappointing 3-8 season, our coaching staff is being plucked by FBS schools.

Arkansas State won the Sun Belt in 2011 going 10-3. They are likely the odds on favorite to repeat in that league as well.

Look for CBC to dig into his coaching contacts and grab a coach who is not currently employed.

Panama

February 25th, 2012
6:45 pm

Can we please keep this on topic? I dont care what happens in the backwater.

I was really hoping to see that 4-2-5 in action

GSU is in Atlanta

February 25th, 2012
6:51 pm

@Panama, I get so easily sidetracked, it is the ADHD.

Yes, the 4-2-5 is something that I am excited about seeing come to fruition and hope that we hire someone who is going to continue with this defensive plan.

Panama

February 25th, 2012
6:52 pm

Very late to be looking for a DC, especially when we are doing SP in March vs. April.

GSU is in Atlanta

February 25th, 2012
7:01 pm

As Ben mentioned, a pick from TCU would be a really good idea to help implement the 4-2-5.

Panama

February 25th, 2012
7:04 pm

Anthony Midget to be interviewed. The plot thickens

GStateBart

February 25th, 2012
7:20 pm

Thompson is a very experienced coach and has the experience of working with big time D1 schools. Gus got himself a good one.

State absolutely needs to adapt to a 4 man front to help address the run defense issues from last season. Too many yards given up right up the middle, due to an undersized line. Whoever takes the job must bring the 4-2-5 element or a variation thereof. We need to start getting the most out of the players we have instead of asking them to do things outside of their skill set. I’d like to see someone with ties to the South as well to help with recruiting.

kybodawg

February 25th, 2012
8:41 pm

there not called midgets anymore there little people

panther

February 25th, 2012
9:04 pm

If there is anything i have learned from Coach Ron Hunter it’s that just because a coach is new, it doesn’t mean that things aren’t going to go well. I don’t think this is going to hurt us.

Also, @kybodawg i think you mean they’re, not there.

glsjunior

February 25th, 2012
9:55 pm

Sluggo

February 25th, 2012
11:13 pm

Good luck Coach Thompson. Not sure who Curry is going to hire with so much uncertainty, but I’m sure he has plenty of contacts.

State of Atlanta

February 26th, 2012
1:05 am

Meh.

Need some new blood on that side of the ball.

Paddy

February 26th, 2012
10:56 am

You can’t get Ga Southern coverage in the AJC because the paper has not been sold in that part of the state in years.

Panther

February 26th, 2012
1:08 pm

Also because nobody cares

GSUAlumBaseball81

February 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

I second that nobody cares! Best of Luck Coach Thompson and thanks for what you did for GSU football. God Speed and hopefully at the least we will be seeing you in conference play in the FBS in the near future!

One Sec

February 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

I think “vertically challenged” is the preferred terminology.

And the good news keeps a comin

February 26th, 2012
3:40 pm

Clearly a football program well poised for an FBS conference … Your 2012 Fightin’ Panthers

Interview "Midget"...

February 26th, 2012
3:58 pm

…I thought the PC way is to call them “little people”…

Thomas Griffis

February 27th, 2012
3:09 pm

Well I think its bad not to tell the boys face to face when he did see most of them Friday and said nothing but he did GSU a favor when you let Murry State and St Francis beat you, You need to leave any way..

Georgia Southern here

February 27th, 2012
5:13 pm

Hello , Would you please get Georgia Southern on your blog. We are the real GSU , and we are ready to play anybody at any time. Go Eagle!!!!

Georgia Southern here

February 27th, 2012
5:21 pm

Pretty Please!!! We are starving for attention and would love for you to stop covering Georgia State and to put all your efforts toward us.

Georgia State here

February 27th, 2012
5:38 pm

See those two posts above? Just me trollin hard.

Georgia State here

February 27th, 2012
6:00 pm

See that Pretty Please comment, that was me trolling hard, the one above it is the real deal…sad

Chicken Bone

February 27th, 2012
8:52 pm

HA HA HA just saw a Black Bear in the driveway! Gotcha! Goatsboro! Go be “re re” somewhere else. As for me and mine, getting in the hot tub and could care less! See you all at Neyland in September. WE ARE THE REAL GSU!!!

Wow

February 27th, 2012
10:02 pm

I hope that wasn’t a Georgia State fan above. Was that english?

GaSouGradInDenial

February 27th, 2012
11:13 pm

Seriously, where is the Ga Southern blog. This newspaper is second-rate, and I’m sick and tired of this Atlanta-biased sports coverage in this Atlanta-based newspaper. Sick of it.

Keep Trollin Trollin Trollin

February 28th, 2012
10:53 am

Keep Trollin Trollin Trollin

Fred Durst

February 28th, 2012
11:13 am

The guy above me is a fake and stole my tag line