Tommy West, who has 32 years of collegiate coaching experience, including stints as a head coach at three different schools, joins Rick Stockstill’s staff after spending the 2012 campaign at Southern Miss as the school's defensive coordinator. West was out of coaching in 2013 and was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at UAB in 2011.
West and Stockstill are no strangers as both were on the same Clemson staff together in 1989 and from 1994 to 1998 the two were together again when West served as the Tigers’ head coach.
Prior to joining the staff at UAB, West was the head coach at the University of Memphis (2001-09), where he guided the Tigers to five bowl appearances and a 49-61 record in nine seasons.
While leading the Memphis program, West guided the Tigers to some of their best seasons in program history. He helped snap a 32-year U of M bowl drought in 2003 when he led his squad to a 9-4 record, including a victory over North Texas in the New Orleans Bowl. The last time that the Tigers had been extended a bowl invitation was during the 1971 season when Memphis defeated San Jose State in the Pasadena Bowl.
The bowl victory in 2003 propelled Memphis into the spotlight and was the first year of a three-season stretch when the Tigers registered 24 victories. Also in 2003, West became just the fourth coach in school history to claim nine wins in a single season. He was named the Coach of the Year by the Tennessee Sports Writers Association.
West and his Tigers opened the 2004 campaign with a 5-1 record, marking the best start for a Memphis squad since 1967. During that time, West led the Tigers into the national spotlight as Memphis defeated Ole Miss for the second-straight season and was listed No. 25 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll. It was the first time ever that the Tigers were ranked by the national entity.
Prior to becoming the Tigers' head coach, West spent the 2000 season as Memphis' defensive coordinator. The Tigers finished the season ranked No. 1 in the nation in rushing defense (72.7 yards allowed per game) and were fifth in total defense (275.3 yards yielded per contest).
West also spent five seasons (1993 to 1998) as the head coach at Clemson. He coached the Tigers to a win in the Peach Bowl a month after being hired and was a part of four bowl teams during his time at Clemson.
West's first head coaching job came at UT-Chattanooga. He guided the Mocs' program for one season before accepting the head coaching position at Clemson.
West began his coaching career in 1979 when he served as an assistant on the staff at Ole Miss. He then spent two seasons at Appalachian State, elevated to offensive coordinator in 1981.
From 1982-89, West served as an assistant coach at Clemson and was responsible for the outside linebackers. He was part of a coaching staff that led the Tigers to a 69-20-4 record and six Associated Press Top 20 rankings between 1982 and 1989. During that time, Clemson played in five bowl games, winning four, and claimed four ACC Championships.
West left Clemson for his alma mater Tennessee in 1990 and spent one season as the Volunteers' running backs coach. West then traveled to the University of South Carolina, where he was the defensive coordinator in 1991 and 1992. He left the Gamecocks' staff to become the head coach at UT-Chattanooga.
A former multi-sport standout at Gainesville (Ga.) High School, West earned his bachelor's degree from Tennessee in 1976. He was a three-year letterman on the Volunteer football team and twice lettered on the baseball squad. He was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976.
West, 59, has one son, Turner who is currently a graduate assistant coach at Middle Tennessee.
THE WEST FILE
Season at MT: 1st
Date Hired: February 6, 2014
Recruiting Area: TBA
Birthdate: July 31, 1954
Hometown: Carrollton, GA
High School: Gainesville (Ga.)
College: Tennessee, B.S. Health Education, 1976
Tight End at Tennessee (1972-75)
1979: Ole Miss (running backs)
1980-81: Appalachian State (wide receivers/tight ends)
1982: Clemson (wide receivers)
1983-89: Clemson (linebackers)
1990: Tennessee (running backs)
1991-92: South Carolina (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
1993: Chattanooga (head coach)
1993-98: Clemson (head coach)
2000: Memphis (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
2001-2009: Memphis (head coach)
2011: UAB (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
2012: USM (defensive coordinator/linebackers)
2014: Middle Tennessee (defensive line)
1973: Gator (player)
1974: Liberty (player)
1975: Blue-Gray All-Star (player)
1985: Indepence (coach)
1986: Gator (coach)
1987: Citrus (coach)
1988: Citrus (coach)
1989: Gator (coach)
1991: Sugar Bowl (coach)
1993: Peach Bowl (head coach)
1995: Gator Bowl (head coach)
1996: Peach Bowl (head coach)
1997: Peach Bowl (head coach)
2003: New Orleans (head coach)
2004: GMAC (head coach)
2005: Motor City (head coach)
2007: New Orleans (head coach)
2008: St. Petersburg (head coach)