Outside Linebackers Coach
All-access pass to spring practice
In-depth video series on Vanderbilt's coaching staff
Karl Dorrell, David Kotulski to serve as coordinators
Kenwick Thompson enters his second year at Vanderbilt with added duties. Thompson will mentor all Commodore linebackers in 2015 after coaching outside linebackers last year.
In 2014, Thompson was responsible for developing sophomore Stephen Weatherly into one of the team's most productive defenders. Moving from defensive end to outside linebacker, Weatherly finished the season by racking up a team-leading 12.5 tackles for loss. He also established a new single-game team record with five tackles for loss vs. Tennessee.
Thompson joined Mason's Vanderbilt staff after working the 2013 season with San Jose State and six years as a key defensive assistant coach at the University of California under Head Coach Jeff Tedford.
At San Jose State, Thompson's responsibilities included mentoring Spartan linebackers. One of his top players was linebacker Keith Smith, who became just the second San Jose State player to become a four-year All-Mountain West recipient. As a senior captain under Thompson, Smith earned First Team All-MVC honors after leading the NCAA with 159 total tackles. His performances included back-to-back, 20-tackle efforts against Minnesota and Utah State.
In addition to Smith, Thompson also mentored First Team All-MVC defensive back Bene Benwikere at San Jose State. Benwikere matched the Spartan career record with 14 interceptions, including five picks as a senior. He also ranked among NCAA leaders with 16 passes defended.
From 2007-12, Thompson worked as linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of California, helping the Golden Bears to four bowl appearances. In 2012, he was also named California's associate head coach.
In 2011, Thompson's linebacker corps helped the Golden Bears top the Pac-12 in both total defense (332.9 yards) and pass defense (204.2 yards) during a 7-6 regular season that concluded with a Holiday Bowl appearance. The Golden Bears also led the Pac-12 in total defense during the 2010 season.
Several of Thompson's linebackers at California earned all-conference recognition. Among his top pupils was Mychal Kendricks, the 2011 All-American and Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year now playing for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Thompson spent the 2001-06 seasons at San Jose State in a variety of coaching roles under head coaches Fitz Hill and Dick Tomey. His positions included linebackers coach in 2001-03, recruiting coordinator in 2002-03, defensive line coach in 2004 and defensive tackles coach in 2006.
From 1994-2000, Thompson served on the coaching staff at Texas Southern University, including the last five seasons as defensive coordinator.
As a collegiate player, he was a defensive standout and team captain at Harding (Ark.) University, earning all-conference honors as a senior. Thompson earned his undergraduate degree from Harding in 1992.
Thompson's first coaching position came in a player-coach capacity in the Italian-American Professional Football League in 1990. The following season, Thompson was named as a graduate assistant at his alma mater.
Thompson and his wife, Monica, have two sons, Jaxson and Jacob.
Thompson's Collegiate Coaching Career
2015 - Vanderbilt - Linebackers Coach
2014 - Vanderbilt - Outside Linebackers Coach
2013 - San Jose State - Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach
2012 - California - Associate Head Coach/Linebackers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2007-11 - California - Linebackers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2006 - San Jose State - Defensive Tackles Coach
2005 - San Jose State - Football Strength and Conditioning Coach
2004 - San Jose State - Defensive Line Coach/co-Recruiting Coordinator
2002-03 - San Jose State - Linebackers Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
2001 - San Jose State - Linebackers Coach
1996-2000 - Texas Southern - Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Coordinator
1995 - Texas Southern - Defensive Line Coach/Recruiting Coordinator
1994 - Texas Southern - Running Backs Coach
1991-92 - Harding - Graduate Assistant