Thigpen was hired from Illinois where he coached for two years and had been asked to remain on Ron Zook's Illini staff. He was the cornerbacks coach in 2003 and the linebackers coach in 2004. A four-year letterwinner at North Carolina from 1989-92, Thigpen was a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference linebacker, earning first-team honors in 1991. He was co-captain of the 1992 team that went 9-3 and beat Mississippi State in the Peach Bowl, the first of seven straight bowl games for the Tar Heels in the 1990s.
Brock comes to Carolina from Temple where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for the past three seasons. Under Brock's direction, Temple's spread offense was one of the most exciting in the Big East. Last season, Temple ranked third in the Big East, generating 173.0 yards on the ground per game. The Owls also passed for 2,428 yards, the fourth-most in program history, and averaged 393.7 total yards per game.
Owls quarterback Walter Washington was 11th nationally in total offense, 21st in scoring and led the nation in rushing touchdowns by a quarterback. In 2003, the Owls threw for 2,697 yards, second most in Temple history. A native of Moorestown, N.J., Brock has 15 years of coaching experience, including five as an offensive coordinator, in stints at Temple, Hofstra, Salisbury State and Western Connecticut State. He was Hofstra's wide receivers coach from 1997-2001.
"I'm thrilled to add Tommy and Dave to our staff and I can't wait to begin working with them this spring," said Bunting. "Tommy was a great player at North Carolina, a former graduate assistant at North Carolina and is one of the top young coaches in the country. In addition to his work at Illinois, Tommy was instrumental in helping Bowling Green become one of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference.
"In addition to working with our wide receivers, Dave brings the added experience of having run his own offense at the Division I level," said Bunting. "His offenses at Temple were exciting to watch and I think he will be a great fit on our staff."
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 UNC graduate assistant in 1998-99. He then coached linebackers at Tennessee State for one season before coaching cornerbacks and special teams at Bowling Green State from 2001-02. At Bowling Green, Thigpen helped coach one of the Mid-American Conference's top defenses, as the Falcons forced 27 turnovers to lead the MAC in turnover margin in 2002. BGSU also finished second in the MAC in pass efficiency defense. Thigpen's special teams also were impressive, blocking seven punts and a potential game-winning field goal attempt by Western Michigan.
Prior to his stint at Temple, Brock coached seven season as Hofstra, where he was named associate head coach in 2002. He began at Hofstra in 1995 and served as the team's offensive coordinator during the 2000 and 2001 seasons. In 2001, Hofstra posted a 9-3 record and concluded the season ranked No. 7 in Division I-AA behind an offense that was second in the nation in total offense (491 yards/game), fourth in passing offense (301 yards/game) and fifth in scoring offense (37.9 points/game). During Brock's last five seasons at Hofstra, the team averaged 35.8 points per game and 446.8 yards per contest.
Brock played linebacker at Ferrum (Va.) College before earning his degree from Salisbury (Md.) State University. He began his coaching career at Salisbury State in 1988, then served as secondary coach/recruiting coordinator at Western Connecticut State from 1991-93. He returned to Salisbury State in 1994-95 as the secondary coach at recruiting coordinator.
Gutekunst replaces James Webster, who left to become the head coach at Tennessee State, as Carolina's assistant head coach. Sanders and Gutekunst shared the defensive coordinator role last year.
"John is a natural fit as my assistant head coach," said Bunting. "He has head coaching experience and has been a college assistant for over 35 years. That is the kind of experience I believe is essential in the day-to-day operation of the football program."
"Marvin has proven to be one of the best secondary coaches in the nation and last season he did an outstanding job in just his first year at Carolina. I saw tremendous improvement in our secondary. He has a great ability to relate to the players and get the most of their abilities."
Gutekunst (pronounced GOO-di-kunst) joined the Tar Heel coaching staff last season after working five years at South Carolina with Lou Holtz. He was the head coach at the University of Minnesota from 1986-91 where he lead the Gophers to winning seasons in four of his six years. In 1986, he guided the Gophers to the 1986 Liberty Bowl, a season highlighted by a 20-17 upset win at No. 2 and previously undefeated Michigan. He was named AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003 while at South Carolina.
Sanders came to Carolina last season after working one season at Nebraska. Under his tutelage, safety Gerald Sensabaugh was one of the top defensive backs in the conference, earning honorable mention All-ACC honors while leading the team in tackles.
The longest tenured assistant at Carolina, Browning will coach his 12th season at UNC in 2005. He also serves as the Director of High School Relations and directs Carolina's camps and clinics. He developed a number of outstanding defensive tackles at Carolina, including first-round NFL Draft picks Vonnie Holliday, Marcus Jones and Ryan Sims. Sports Illustrated selected North Carolina's defensive tackles in its positional "Dream Team" in its 1998 preseason college football issue. Every defensive tackle Browning coached at UNC was drafted by or signed with an NFL franchise.
Carolina's 2005 Football Coaching Staff
John Bunting, Head Coach
Dave Brock, Wide Receivers
Ken Browning, Defensive Tackles/Director of High School Relations
Jeff Connors, Asst. A.D. for Strength & Conditioning
John Gutekunst, Assistant Head Coach/Tight Ends
Hal Hunter, Offensive Line
Brad Lawing, Defensive Ends/Recruiting Coordinator
Andre' Powell, Running Backs/Special Teams Coordinator
Marvin Sanders, Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Backs
Tommy Thigpen, Linebackers
Gary Tranquill, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks