LEXINGTON, Ky. – Thom Kaumeyer, whose varied experiences include stints as a Division I defensive coordinator, junior-college head coach, National Football League player, and NFL assistant coach, is the new defensive backs coach at the University of Kentucky, Coach Rich Brooks has announced.
“Thom is an outstanding teacher,” Brooks said. “He brings good communication skills and ability to help continue the improvement we’ve made on defense.
“Thom was a great player for me (at Oregon) and later played in the NFL,” Brooks said. “He has been a head coach and assistant coach at the junior-college level and was a defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the Division I level for numerous years.”
Kaumeyer comes to Kentucky from Tulane University, where he was the defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach in 2007. During his one season there, Tulane improved its national rankings in scoring defense, total defense, and rushing defense compared to the ’06 season.
Kaumeyer coached at San Diego State from 2002-06, including four seasons as the defensive coordinator. In 2003, he orchestrated the biggest defensive improvement in the country as SDSU leaped from 95th in total defense in 2002 to eighth in 2003, from 91st in pass defense to fourth, and from 92nd in scoring defense to 13th.
SDSU produced 14 first- or second-team All-Mountain West Conference defensive selections during Kaumeyer’s term. That group is highlighted by Kirk Morrison, All-America linebacker who was two-time MWC Defensive Player of the Year. Five SDSU defensive players were taken in the NFL Draft from 2004-06. All five, including Morrison with the Oakland Raiders, cornerback Jeff Shoate of Baltimore, linebacker Matt McCoy of New Orleans, safety Marviel Underwood of Green Bay, and linebacker Freddy Keiaho of Indianapolis, were members of NFL teams during the 2007 season.
Kaumeyer gained coaching experience in the National Football League when he spent two seasons (2000-01) with the Atlanta Falcons. He was the defensive quality-control coach and also helped coach the secondary. Brooks was defensive coordinator for the Falcons in the 2000 season.
Brooks and Kaumeyer first became acquainted during the collegiate recruiting process when Kaumeyer went to Oregon to play for the Ducks. He was a two-year letterman as a defensive back and was second-team All-Pac-10, team captain, and Academic All-Pac-10 during his senior season in 1988. Kaumeyer went to Oregon from Palomar College, where he had been a junior-college All-American.
After his collegiate days, Kaumeyer was a sixth-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams. He spent five years in the NFL, two with Seattle in 1989-90 and three with the New York Giants in 1991-93.
A succession of injuries while with the Giants enabled him to begin his coaching career. He assisted at Palomar College in 1991 and ’93, helping guide the team to the junior-college national championship each year. He was head coach at Palomar in 1994, with the team posting an 8-3 record and winning the San Diego Community College Bowl.
Kaumeyer had an interesting experience in 1995-96, as he traveled to Japan and coached the Onward Kashiyama, Ltd., team in the Tokyo League. In ’96, he led the team to a berth in the Tokyo Super Bowl.
Kaumeyer returned to Palomar from 1997-99, winning another national championship as defensive coordinator and special teams coordinator in 1998. He reunited with Brooks by joining the Falcons’ defensive staff in 2000.
“I’m excited to be with Coach Brooks again and the opportunity to coach in the Southeastern Conference,” Kaumeyer said. “I also had known Steve Brown and look forward to coaching with him on the defensive staff.”
Kaumeyer completed his bachelor’s degree at Regents College in Albany, N. Y., and earned a master’s in education at Azusa Pacific in Azusa, Calif. He is married to Kayoko Kaumeyer.