AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn’s coaching staff is finally complete.
After a 7 1/2-week process, Gene Chizik finalized his nine-member staff Sunday, announcing that Phillip Lolley and Tommy Thigpen will split duties in the secondary.
Chizik also announced that defensive coordinator Ted Roof will coach linebackers, filling the void left when James Willis bolted for an assistant position with Alabama on Jan. 21.
Lolley, 55, has been at Auburn since 1999, when he began as the strength and conditioning coach. He oversaw the Tigers’ secondary in 2002-03 when Chizik was defensive coordinator, coaching Thorpe Award winner Carlos Rogers and Junior Rosengren, who both earned All-American honors in 2004.
He’s spent the last five years as the team’s Director of NFL Relations
Prior to working for Auburn, Lolley coached for 22 years at the high school level in Alabama, serving three schools — Warrior Academy in Eutaw, Stevenson High and North Jackson High.
“I coached side-by-side with Phillip when I was defensive coordinator at Auburn and it was very evident that he’s a great coach,” Chizik said in a press release from the school. “He’s been successful at every level and he will also be a valuable asset because of his strong relationships with high school programs and coaches in the state of Alabama.”
Thigpen, 38, spent the last four seasons with his alma mater North Carolina, where he coached linebackers. He was named one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com in 2007.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to work at a tradition-rich program like Auburn and for an outstanding coach in Gene Chizik,” Thigpen said. “It was a tough decision to leave my alma mater, but this is a great step for me professionally.”
He’s had coaching stints at Tennessee State (2000), Bowling Green (2001-02) and Illinois (2003-04).
“Tommy has had a tremendous amount of success at every stop he’s made as an assistant coach,” Chizik said. “I’ve been well aware of him since his days as a standout player at North Carolina and have followed his professional career very closely.”
A three-time All-ACC linebacker for the Tar Heels from 1989-92, Thigpen played professionally for the New York Giants in 1993-94 and the Barcelona Dragons in 1995-96.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at UNC in 1998.