Tommy West was named the new head football coach at the University of Memphis in a press conference Thursday. West was hired as defensive coordinator earlier this season by former head coach Rip Scherer. Scherer endorsed West for the head job.
I dont care what names are bantered around, there is no better candidate for this job than Tommy West, Scherer said at his final press conference. The players believe in him. He is a heck of a football coach.
West set a goal of making the Tiger defense tougher against the run. They finished the season with the number-one rushing defense in the country. Overall, Memphis ranked sixth in total defense.
Throughout the season, West was a valuable sounding board for Scherer. West knew what his boss was going through because he had been in Scherers position. From 1993 to 1998, West was the head coach at Clemson. During that time he had only one losing season. It came in 1998 and it cost him his job. He took the Tigers to four bowl games (becoming only the second coach at the school to go to three consecutive bowl games). Twenty players at Clemson went into the NFL under West and 29 were named to the All-ACC team.
West is from Carrolton, Georgia. He played tight end for Bill Battle in the mid 70s at Tennessee. He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant to Battle in 1977. Most of his career has been spent in East Tennessee and the Carolinas (at Appalachian State, South Carolina, and Clemson). He has been both an offensive and defensive coordinator.
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