Saturday, November 19, 2011

Soul add Thompson to coaching staff

PHILADELPHIA (November 18, 2011) – The Philadelphia Soul have hired former longtime Arena Football League veteran, Leroy Thompson, as an assistant coach .

Thompson, who played 13 seasons in the AFL, will work with the offensive and defensive line, fullbacks and linebackers for the 2012 season. 

“Leroy Thompson was one of the greatest fullback-linebackers in Arena Football League history,” said Soul general manager Tom Goodhines.  “He brings years of AFL experience and knowledge to our team.  By adding Leroy to Doug Plank and Clint Dolezel, we now have a coaching staff that has over 30 years of AFL experience and seven ArenaBowl appearances on its resume.”

Thompson was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles coaching staff in the 2011 training camp through the NFL Coaching Fellowship Internship Program, where he served as assistant defensive line coach under currently line coach Jim Washburn.   He also coached collegiately as an assistant coach at Wesley College and Lincoln University (Pa.).  While at Lincoln, he helped the second-year program win two more games than the previous season, working with a defensive unit that shaved nearly two touchdowns per game off of its points allowed.

Thompson, who will enter his 14th season in the AFL, had previously played for the Albany Firebirds (1996-2004), New Orleans VooDoo (2005), and the Columbus Destroyers (2006-08).  His best statistical season came in 2000 while playing for the Firebirds, rushing the ball 59 times for 191 yards and 14 touchdowns.  Defensively, his best season came in 2002 tallying 16 tackles and five sacks including 37 rushes for 117 yards and 10 touchdowns.  His efforts were rewarded that season by being named First Team All-Arena FB/LB, and the AFL’s Ford Tough Man of the Year. 

Thompson was a participant in the 2007 ArenaBowl as a member of the National Conference Champion, Columbus Destroyers, and also won an ArenaBowl Championship in 1999 with the Albany Firebirds.  When he retired in 2008, he was only one of six AFL players who had rushed for over 1,000 career yards.  He led his team in rushing six of his 13 seasons in the League, while being in the Top 10 overall in that same category five out of those 13 seasons. 

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with Leroy,” said Soul head coach Doug Plank.  “I know he will be very excited to work with players and bring out the best in them.  Leroy is a throwback that excelled on both sides of the ball during his playing days and will be a huge asset to the entire team.”

Thompson attended Delaware State University where he was a two-time All Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection.  As a senior, Thompson earned Kodak First Team All-America Honors as he lead the team with 89 tackles and 11 sacks.  During his junior season he recorded a school record 16 sacks, and five sacks in one game against North Carolina A&T which is also a school record.  Leroy’s 30 career sacks rate third all-time for the Hornets.

Thompson also played the role of Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Carl “Big Daddy” Hairston in the Vince Papale movie “Invincible.”

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