In remaking his defensive coaching staff, LSU football Brian Kelly brought back some familiar faces to Baton Rouge.
Former linebackers coach Blake Baker will now serve as the school’s defensive coordinator and former cornerbacks guru Corey Raymond is back to coach his specialty.
Kelly brought the same approach to his off-the-field staff as well with expected hiring of Austin Thomas from Ole Miss to senior associate athletic director for football administration. He’s also expected to work with LSU athletic director Scott Woodward in an undisclosed role.
The anticipated move was reported by both The Baton Rouge Advocate and FootballScoop.com.
Thomas, a native of Franklin, Tennessee, spent the past two years as the right hand man to Ole Miss football coach Lane Kiffin, serving as his chief of staff and holding the title of senior assistant athletic director. He assisted Kiffin in the scheduling of non-conference opponents, budgeting, helped in the negotiations of assistant coaches’ contracts and with Name, Image and Likeness.
Ole Miss has been among the country’s leading teams this offseason in the transfer portal which included the signing of former LSU running back Logan Diggs.
With an extensive background in roster management and player personnel, Thomas is expected to provide a boost in those areas for Kelly, who lost player personnel director Will Redmond to Auburn and two other assistants to head personnel positions at other schools.
Thomas has spent time at Tennessee, USC, LSU, Baylor, Texas A&M and Ole Miss.
He spent 2013-17 at LSU under former head coaches Les Miles and Ed Orgeron with the latter coach promoting him to a General Manager position which was the first of its kind at the time in the Southeastern Conference.
Thomas left LSU for Texas A&M and coach Jimbo Fisher and served as an Associate Athletic Director for Football Personnel, went to Baylor for a year before returning to LSU in 2021 under Orgeron and handled such duties as roster management, daily operations and scouting and development.
He was not retained when Kelly took the LSU job in December of 2022 and left for Ole Miss.