GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU) – Byron Thweatt, whose 14 years of experience includes three FCS Championship Game appearances, a pair of national titles and a FBS bowl victory, has been named inside linebackers coach at ECU according to an announcement from head football coach Mike Houston Friday.
His hire officially ends a one-year stint at Marshall where he helped the Thundering Herd to a 9-4 overall record and a win in the 2018 Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl Thursday night.
Marshall’s defense stood among the Top 20 regular season national leaders in seven statistical categories, including sacks (seventh/3.17 pg), rush defense (10th/105.3 ypg), 3rd down defense (15th/32.1 pct.), defensive TDs (16th/three), fumbles recovered (17th/11), 4th down defense (19th/40.9 pct.) and turnovers gained (20th/23).
Prior to arriving in Huntington, Thweatt spent two years as linebackers coach at James Madison where he helped the Dukes advance to back-to-back FCS title games, a national championship in 2016, two Colonial Athletic Association crowns and a 28-2 combined record. During the 2017 campaign under current ECU Defensive Coordinator Bob Trott, JMU led the country in scoring defense (11.1 ppg), interceptions (31), takeaways (44) and pass efficiency defense (83.12 rating).
In his first season with the Dukes, he was part of a defensive turnaround that resulted in a No. 8 FCS ranking in turnover margin (+1.13), a No. 17 standing in scoring defense (21.2 ppg) and a No. 30 showing in total defense (344.3 ypg).
“We are all excited to have Byron back with us and complete our staff,” Houston said. “He is someone I know well and place great trust in both his football IQ and in the manner he relates to young men. Byron is an exceptional fit for our program at ECU and will impact many people, both on and off the field.”
Thweatt came to Harrisonburg after guiding Virginia State to a 6-4 record and a third-place finish in the CIAA Northern Division as its head coach in 2015.
He spent eight overall campaigns at Richmond (2007-14), most recently coaching inside linebackers and handling director of high school relations duties the last two years after serving as recruiting coordinator, tight ends coach, defensive tackles coach and as a defensive staff assistant with the Spiders. In all, Richmond posted a 67-35 record during his stay, which included three 10-plus win seasons, four FCS playoff appearances and the 2008 FCS National Championship.
As a player, Thweatt was a four-year letterman and two-time captain at Virginia who started 47 games for the Cavaliers, a then school-record for linebackers. As a senior, he garnered Football News Honorable Mention All-America honors and was a finalist for the Bill Dudley Award after recording 125 tackles, which is tied for 11th on Virginia’s single-season charts.
Thweatt, a four-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, closed his collegiate career tallying 387 tackles (246 solo) which currently stands sixth all-time in program history. After college, he spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans of the National Football League as well as playing in NFL Europe.
Thweatt and his wife, Mieya, have three daughters, Brianna, Bryce and Bralyn.