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Published: Friday, 1/17/2003

Several BG coaches kept by Brandon


BOWLING GREEN - One assistant coach who is leaving Bowling Green to take a job with the University of Illinois will be missed by the defense, but several other assistant coaches are ready to join new coach Gregg Brandon's staff.

Tommy Thigpen, BG's defensive backs coach for the past two seasons under Urban Meyer and the special teams coordinator in 2002, has accepted the position of cornerbacks coach at Illinois.

Meyer left Bowling Green in December to take over at Utah, and Brandon, Bowling Green's offensive coordinator for the past two years, was named to replace him a short time later.

Brandon has retained defensive coordinator Tim Beckman, defensive line coach Mike Ward, linebackers coach John Bowers, and promoted offensive line coach Greg Studrawa to offensive coordinator. Bowers will also handle the special teams.

Brandon is expected to name a wide receivers coach, running backs coach, quarterbacks coach, tight ends coach, and a new defensive backs coach within the next few days.

Thigpen helped guide a Falcon defense that was second in the Mid-American Conference in pass efficiency defense while creating 27 turnovers to lead the MAC in turnover margin.

His special teams blocked seven punts and a potential game-winning field goal attempt by Western Michigan.

Thigpen had coached at Tennessee State and at his alma mater, North Carolina, before coming to BG. Thigpen played the 1993-94 seasons as a member of the New York Giants and the 1995-96 seasons as a member of the Barcelona Dragons of NFL Europe.

Meyer took along from his Bowling Green staff wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, offensive line coach John Hevesy and quarterbacks coach Dan Mullen.

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