Andy Thompson stepped into the defensive coordinator role at Sacramento State in 2019. He previously served as the defensive coordinator at Northern Arizona from 2009-18.
He was named the 12th head coach in Sacramento State history on Dec. 13. It was an opportunity that Thompson had envisioned for his career.
“I was hoping that there would be an opportunity,” Taylor told Zach McKinnell of The Bluebloods about accepting the head coaching position at Sacramento State. “There’s a lot of other great coaches on our staff that interviewed… They really wanted to be here at Sacramento State. It was something I’ve definitely envisioned. This world of college football, things move pretty fast and I was lucky to have the opportunity and I’m just looking to sustain the success we’ve had since 2019.”
Under Thompson, the Hornets had the best scoring defense in school history in the 2021 season. Marte Mapu was just the second player in school history to be named Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year in 2022. Thompson spoke about his decision to continue to be heavily involved on the defensive side of the ball.
“I’m going to be extremely involved. I’m still going to call the defense. I feel like it’s a huge part of what I can bring to the table and I think as the head coach you have to trust the people that you’ve hired. We’ve hired good guys on offense. Coach (Bobby) Fresco is going to be the offensive coordinator, Coach (Kris) Richardson has been here, Jeremy Lepan has been in our program since 2019… So those guys don’t need me. But I am going to continue to call the defense and we’ve got a great staff and we hired some other great coaches to help, but I will be focusing on that side of the ball a lot more.”
Thompson is making the state of California a priority on the recruiting trail. The Hornets have had major success recruiting and developing in-state prospects over the past few seasons. Marshel Martin, Cameron Skattebo, Marte Mapu, and George Obinna are just a few notable names from the state of California that earned FCS All-American honors at Sacramento State.
“Our goal is to have 20 seniors in our program at this level,” Thompson stated about the recruiting strategy at Sacramento State. “We want to be California. We want to have kids from California. We feel like there’s great high school football here and there’s great junior college football played here… We do have 42 or 43 million people in this state, so we want to take advantage of that. I think our roster right now is almost 90% from the state of California. I think that’s probably the number that’s going to be here.”
The expectations are high at Sacramento State after three consecutive conference championships. Thompson spoke about his expectations for the 2023 season and what fans can expect from the Hornets this season.
“We want to be the pride of Sacramento. We want to be an exciting team, we want to innovative, we want to play to win all the time and we want our fans to be the same way. We want to engage with them and we want to welcome them anytime to any of our events. Our spring game is April 22 and we’d love to see as many Hornet fans coming out to that as we could and be around these players. They work tremendously hard and they represent all of Hornet Nation consistently and in a positive manner and we’re trying to do that everyday.”
The Andy Thompson era at Sacramento State will begin on Sep. 2 against Nicholls State in Thibodaux, Louisiana.