Jan. 17, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – University of Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino completed his coaching staff by hiring Lamar Thomas as the wide receivers’ coach and Terrell Buckley as the cornerbacks’ coach.
A young and up-and-coming coach, Thomas comes to Louisville after one season with Petrino at Western Kentucky.
Last season, Thomas’ wide receivers were key components in the Hilltoppers setting single season school records for passing yardage as well as total offense. Wideouts Willie McNeal and Joel German enjoyed career seasons, catching 46 and 26 passes, respectively. McNeal eclipsed the 100-catch mark for his career in 2013 as well as the 1,000-yard mark.
Thomas developed a pair of freshman receivers in Taywan Taylor and Nicholas Norris into top flight Division I receivers. The duo combined for 57 catches and 701 yards, while Norris tallied four touchdowns on the season and caught at least one pass in all 12 games.
Prior to his one year at Western Kentucky, Thomas spent two seasons coaching the wide receivers at Hampton.
Prior to arriving as an assistant coach at Hampton, Thomas served as passing game coordinator for three seasons at Boynton Beach Community High in Boynton Beach, Fla. During his tenure, the Tigers qualified for the Florida High School Athletic Association playoffs for the first time in school history. He also coached varsity basketball and track.
Thomas was a standout wide receiver at Miami (Fla.) from 1988-92, where he earned his bachelor of liberal arts degree, lettering in football, basketball, and track. His career earned him induction into the UM Hall of Fame in 2013. Thomas was a two time All-BIG EAST consensus first team selection as a receiver. While at Miami, Thomas won two national championships (1989, 1991) and holds the school record for the most career receptions (144). When he graduated, he ranked second in both receiving yards (2,271) and touchdowns (23), behind only NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin.
After his collegiate career, Thomas was selected in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he played three seasons (1993-95), before finishing his career with the Miami Dolphins (1996-2000). Despite injuries in his final two seasons, Thomas recorded 43 receptions for 603 yards and five touchdowns with the Dolphins in his final season of play.
In high school, Thomas was a four-sport letterman at F.W. Bucholz High in Gainesville, Fla., where he was a first team all-state selection in football and basketball his senior year.
Buckley, a 14-year veteran of the NFL, Super Bowl champion with the Patriots in 2002, and Florida State standout, comes to Louisville after serving two seasons as the cornerbacks coach for Terry Bowden at Akron.
While coaching the corners at Akron in 2012, two of Buckley’s players – senior Micklos Blake and redshirt freshman Bryce Cheek – earned academic honorable mention honors from the Mid-American Conference. Blake closed out the season with 21 tackles, three pass breakups, and one fumble recovery.
A two-year starter and three-year letterwinner as a cornerback and return specialist at Florida State (1989-91), he was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame in 2003. He had his jersey No. 27 retired in 2011 and is one of nine players in FSU history to earn that distinction, joining receivers Fred Biletnikoff (1962-64) and Ron Sellers (1966-68), nose guard Ron Simmons (1977-80), cornerback Deion Sanders (1985-88), Heisman trophy-winning quarterbacks Charlie Ward (1989-93) and Chris Weinke (1997-2000), running back Warrick Dunn (1993-96), and linebacker Derrick Brooks (1991-94).
Buckley left FSU as the program’s all-time leader in interceptions (21) and interception return yards (501). That INT return yardage was an NCAA record, and he tied school records for touchdowns off interceptions (4) and punt returns (3). He earned consensus All-America honors as a junior in 1991 as well as the Jim Thorpe Award that same season, given annually to the nation’s top defensive back. He was also a member of the Seminoles baseball team for two seasons (1990-91), playing outfield and second base, and was a sprinter on the outdoor track team (1991-92).
Buckley was picked fifth in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers and spent the next 14 seasons in the league (1992-2005).
During his NFL career, Buckley amassed 50 interceptions. In 1996, Buckley led the league in interception return yards (164) and, as a rookie in 1992, set what remains a current record as the youngest player to return a punt for a touchdown (21 years, 105 days – Sept. 20, 1992, versus Cincinnati). He also played baseball in the Atlanta Braves’ minor league system.
Buckley spent spent three seasons as a graduate assistant strength coach at FSU, where he completed his undergraduate degree in 2007.