Jan. 12, 2007
BERKELEY - Kenwick Thompson has been hired as the linebackers coach for the California football program, head coach Jeff Tedford announced on Friday. Thompson, who has 17 years of coaching experience, comes to Cal after six years with the San Jose State football program.
"We feel very fortunate to have been able to add Kenwick Thompson to our staff," Tedford said. "He has visited our program before and is familiar with our staff. We already have had a good relationship with him and I have a lot of confidence in his abilities. He will be an excellent addition to the Cal program and should have a good relationship with players as well as being an excellent recruiter for us."
Thompson coached the defensive tackles at San Jose State in 2006, helping the Spartans advance to the New Mexico Bowl, where they defeated host New Mexico. It was the program's first bowl victory since 1990 as well as its first nine-win season since 1990. The Spartans ranked third in the Western Athletic Conference in both scoring defense and total defense in 2006.
"I have always admired the way Cal plays the game and goes about doing business," Thompson said. "Coach Tedford and his staff care about their players on and off the field; and they push their players to excel on and off the field. Cal has always played physical and worked hard. I just hope to add to the success they have had."
Thompson replaces Bob Foster, who retired following Cal's Holiday Bowl victory. Foster had 39 years of coaching experience, including two stints with the Golden Bears. In 2006 Foster's linebacker corps was one of the top groups in the nation, with seniors Desmond Bishop and Mickey Pimentel and sophomore Zack Follett all earning all-conference recognition.
"We've really appreciated Coach Foster's contributions to the program," Tedford said. "He has been an integral part of our program and he will always be part of the Cal family. We are going to miss him and wish him well."
After joining the San Jose State staff in 2001 as its linebackers coach, Thompson added recruiting coordinator duties for 2002 and 2003. In 2004, he coached the Spartans' defensive line while sharing recruiting coordinator and special teams duties. He served as the SJSU strength and conditioning coach in 2005 before taking over the defensive tackles for the 2006 campaign.
Prior to his stay in San Jose, Thompson spent seven years at Texas Southern University, including the last five (1996-2000) as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
A 1992 graduate of Harding University in Searey, Ark., with a degree in marketing and sales, Thompson was a two-time all-conference selection and his conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 1990. He also served as a team captain. He recorded 30 career quarterback sacks, a school record that still stands, and led the Bison in sacks in each of his last two seasons.
Following his playing career, Thompson coached in the Italian-American Professional Football League and as a graduate assistant at his alma mater.
Thompson and his wife, Monica, have two sons, Jaxson and Jacob.
THE THOMPSON FILE