As Auburn’s interim defensive coordinator, Lance Thompson impressed more than a few onlookers when the Tigers shut down Memphis and quarterback Paxton Lynch in a 31-10 Birmingham Bowl victory. But the longtime linebackers coach apparently did not impress coach Gus Malzahn enough for Auburn to hire Thompson as the full-time coordinator after Will Muschamp left for South Carolina in December.
The Tigers instead hired Kevin Steele away from LSU, while Thompson followed Muschamp to become the Gamecocks’ new defensive line coach — a move that may not have been the assistant’s first choice.
“I would’ve stayed as the coordinator, yeah, absolutely,” Thompson said, according to Chris Vannini of CoachingSearch.com. “But (Malzahn) made the decision to go on. Gus is a good man, Auburn is a good program, but I wish him well.”
Thompson boasts a strong track record as a recruiter — he was ranked the No. 1 recruiter in the nation by ESPN in 2014 — and has 13 years of SEC coaching experience under his belt, including three seasons at Alabama under Nick Saban (2012-14).