Gainesville High graduate Andrew Thacker is coming back to coach football close to home.
On Dec. 31, the former Red Elephants standout and Temple defensive coordinator was named defensive coordinator at Georgia Tech. Thacker joins the staff of new Yellow Jackets head coach Geoff Collins, who held the same position in 2018 at Temple.
Thacker played at Gainesville for his stepfather, now retired coach Bruce Miller, and was part of its 2002 state semifinal team.
The hiring gives Thacker, his wife Liza, and their two children a chance to return to Georgia.
“Liza and I are thrilled to join the Georgia Tech football family and return home to Georgia,” Thacker said. “We look forward to dedicating our time and energy to Georgia Tech and investing in the young men in the program. We believe in Coach Collins’ vision and cannot wait to get started on The Flats.”
At Temple, Thacker helped produce one of the American Athletic Conference’s highest-ranked defenses. The Owls were among the league’s top three teams in total defense (second), passing defense (second), three-and-outs (second) and scoring defense (third). As linebackers coach in 2017, he helped Temple rank among the top teams nationally in both sacks (11th) and tackles for loss (11th).
“Andrew did a really good job for us the last two years as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach,” Collins said. “He helped put together one of the best defenses in the AAC due to his connection with the players, his motivation and his knowledge of the game. His stepdad was a legendary high school coach in the state of Georgia. I’m excited to have him back home.”
Prior to his two seasons at Temple, Thacker spent the 2016 season as linebackers coach at Kennesaw State, where he helped the Owls lead the Big South in scoring defense and rushing defense and ranked second in total defense.
Also, Thacker previously coached safeties at Central Florida (2015) and Southern Mississippi (2013). In 2014, he was a defensive assistant with the Atlanta Falcons.
As a graduate assistant at Central Florida (2008-09), Thacker worked with then Owls linebackers coach Collins.
As a player, Thacker was a four-year starter as a safety at Furman from 2004-07.