Chizik Hiring Lolley and Thigpen for AU Staff

Auburn football coach Gene Chizik is expected to add two new assistant coaches to his staff.

Auburn, Ala.--Gene Chizik's 2009 on-the-field Auburn football coaching staff is now finished with two defensive hires.

North Carolina assistant coach Tommy Thigpen, who coached linebackers for the Tar Heels, will join the Auburn staff as a defensive backs coach.

Phillip Lolley

Phillip Lolley, Director of NFL Relations for the Tigers and a former outside linebackers and defensive backs coach for Auburn, will also join the on-the-field coaching staff and will also work with the defensive backs.

Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof will handle the assignement as linebacker coach in his first year on Chizik's staff.

Thigpen, a former All-ACC linebacker for the Tar Heels, is considered an outstanding recruiter, which looks like is becoming a theme with Chizik's assistant coach hires.

Coach Tommy Thigpen is shown at a North Carolina practice.

Thigpen, who is 37 years old, returned to his alma mater in 2005 to coach linebackers after two seasons at Illinois where he coached cornerbacks in 2003 and linebackers in 2004.

Lolley, who is 55, served on Tommy Tuberville's on-the-field staff as a defensive backs coach in 2002 and 2003 when Chizik was defensive coordinator at Auburn from 2002-2004.

Thigpen was an All-ACC linebacker who played for North Carolina from 1989-92. He played for the NFL's New York Giants in 1993-94 and spent the next two seasons with the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe.

He returned to North Carolina as a graduate assistant coach in 1998-99 before taking a job as linebacker coach at Tennessee State in 2000. He moved to Bowling Green for two seasons where he coached cornerbacks and served as special teams coordinator.

"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. I'm extremely pleased to be adding someone with his professionalism and coaching expertise to this staff."

Thigpen said, "I'm excited about the opportunity to work at a tradition-rich program like Auburn and for an outstanding coach in Gene Chizik. It was a tough decision to leave my alma mater, but this is a great step for me professionally.

"I've known Ted Roof from his days in the ACC and played for (former UNC and current Texas head coach) Mack Brown so I'm very familiar with the outstanding coaches that are in place at Auburn. I can't wait to get started and look forward to joining the Auburn family."

Tommy Thigpen talks to a North Carolina linebacker.

Commenting on Lolley, Chizik said, "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. 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."

Lolley served as head coach at three high schools in the state of Alabama, including North Jackson High School, where he led the program to the 1993 4A state championship. A native of Butler, Ala., Lolley spent 10 years at North Jackson from 1988-98, where the Chiefs advanced to the state playoffs each season.

"It was a great experience working with Coach Chizik during his previous tenure at Auburn," Lolley said. "He had the nation's top defense in 2004 and I look forward to working with Ted Roof to help return the Auburn defense to one of the best in the country. I'm pleased to be back on the field as part of the Auburn family and am very excited to start back recruiting the great state of Alabama."

Lolley started his coaching career at South Choctaw Academy in 1977 before becoming the head coach at Warrior Academy in Eutaw from 1978-82. He also was defensive coordinator at Demopolis High School (1982-84) and head coach at Stevenson High School (1984-87).

Phillip Lolley has been at Auburn for 10 years in different role including a strength and conditioning coach in 1999-2000.

Lolley earned a bachelor's degree from West Alabama in 1977 and a master's degree in 1981. He is married to the former Ann Miller and the couple has a son, Brad, and daughter, Brittany.

The new coaching staff will take the field for the first time on March 24th as the Tigers begin spring training.


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