March 4, 2006
Chris Rumph, most recently a defensive coach at the University of Memphis for the last three years under former Clemson Head Coach Tommy West, has been named defensive line coach at Clemson University. Head Coach Tommy Bowden made the announcement Saturday. Rumph replaces Marion Hobby, who resigned in February to become a defensive line coach with the New Orleans Saints.
Rumph helped the Memphis Tigers to bowl appearances all three years he worked under West, including bowl victories in 2003 and 2005. Memphis won 24 games during his three years on the staff.
“It is a great honor to coach at Clemson University,” said Rumph. “Clemson has an outstanding tradition that includes a national championship and many conference championships. Tommy Bowden has assembled an experienced, knowledgeable staff and it will be a great opportunity to be a part of it.
“One of the reasons I wanted to come to Clemson was the direction of the program. It is one of the programs on the rise nationally. This team was just 14 points away from being undefeated last year.”
“Chris Rumph is an outstanding coach who had a significant impact on the strong program Tommy West has developed at Memphis,” said Bowden. ” He played the position (at South Carolina) he will be coaching at Clemson, and I see that as a strong asset.
“He obviously has strong ties to the state of South Carolina an that should help us in recruiting. He coached at St. Matthews (SC) for five years in addition to his career as a player at the University of South Carolina. “
The Memphis defense ranked 23rd in the nation in turnover margin in 2005 when the Tigers posted a 7-5 record. The defensive unit allowed just 125.6 yards per game on the ground, first in Conference USA and 27th in the nation. Two of Rumph’s players, Tim Goodwell and Carlton Baker, were the top two tacklers on the defense. Goodwell led the team in tackles with 102 and Baker had 88, including a team best five sacks.
Rumph joined the Memphis staff in June of 2003, and worked with defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn in developing a solid defensive unit each of the last three years. The 2003 defense was ninth in the nation in total defense. One of Rumph’s players, Coot Terry, was an All-Conference USA player. The 2003 Memphis team won nine games, including a bowl game.
In 2004, Goodwell led the team in tackles with 106 stops. Goodwell, Carlton Baker and Quinton McCrary were three of the top four tacklers and accounted for 284 of the team’s total tackles. Rumph’s linebackers also logged 10 of the team’s 23 sacks in 2004.
The 2004 Memphis team started 5-1 and was ranked in the top 25 of the Associated Press poll, the first top 25 ranking in history for the Memphis program. The squad also defeated SEC rival Mississippi for the second straight year.
Rumph joined the Memphis Tigers after coaching at South Carolina State in 2002. While at SCSU, he worked with the corners and safeties. He had previously served as the head football coach at Calhoun County High School in St. Matthews, S.C, from 1997-2001. In addition to his duties as head coach, he also served as offensive coordinator and quarterback/running backs coach at Calhoun County.
A native of St. Matthews, S.C., Rumph worked as a graduate assistant coach at the University of South Carolina in the spring of 1997 prior to being named the head coach at Calhoun Country High.
Rumph was a four-year football letterman for the University of South Carolina from 1991-94. He first appeared as a red-shirt freshman at outside linebacker and was credited with 16 tackles and one quarterback sack for the 1991 season. During the 1992 campaign, Rumph played in nine contests at outside linebacker as a sophomore and registered 32 tackles. His first career start that year came in a victory at Clemson.
As a junior in 1993, Rumph logged 41 tackles as a part-time starter. He started the Georgia and Clemson games and turned in stellar efforts against East Carolina and Mississippi State. Rumph caused two fumbles and recovered one in the East Carolina contest, and was credited with six tackles, one quarterback sack and a pass breakup against the Bulldogs.
In his final year as a starting defensive tackle, Rumph ranked as the Gamecocks’ ninth-leading tackler with a career-high 52 total in the 11 regular season games. He helped South Carolina to a Carquest Bowl bid in Brad Scott’s first season as South Carolina head coach. The Gamecocks recorded their first ever bowl victory in the 1995 Carquest Bowl against West Virginia. Scott is now Clemson’s offensive line coach.
Rumph, 34, received his bachelor of science degree in retail management from South Carolina in December of 1994. He and his wife, Kila, have one son, Christopher. He is also the uncle of current Clemson defensive end Phillip Merling and he will be Merling’s position coach this year.
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